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Protecting Pets - Smoke & Fires
With Australia witnessing some of the worst fires in history, Pet Insurance Australia is offering some good advice to help pet owners prepare during this horrific fire season. From pet evacuation kits to helping your pet cope with smoke.
“This is a very scary time of year for many Australian families,” Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia says. “The threat of fire can be a real and terrifying to many, as the whole of Australia feels the effect of this raging fire season.”
Pet Insurance Australia advises pet owners to always have a plan that also includes the family pet.
“In your emergency kit, also consider the family pet and pop some basics inside for a quick getaway,” she advises. “Also evacuate animals early, ask a friend or family member in a non-threatened zone to look after your pets until the danger reduces, and keep cats inside during high fire warnings.”
PIA also recommends having all pets microchip and collar details up-to-date and keeping emergency contact information on hand.
“Will You take my pet during an emergency?”
It’s a good idea to ask this question before any possible emergency. Also, keep in contact constantly with this person. If your emergency-carer does go away on holiday, organize another family member or friend before a fire erupts.
Some emergency centres will take pets, but it’s important to know where these are near your home. Having a plan is vital. Consider asking;
· Friends and family members who know the pet and live out of danger.
· Boarding kennels – call and have a plan in place.
· Veterinary boarding facilities away from fires.
“Don’t delay in getting your pets out of harm’s way, once the evacuation notice is given get your pets to a safe area asap, road closures can happen quickly and you may not be allowed back into the area,” Crighton suggests.
Pet Evacuation Kit
· Spare tags
· Water & Food bowls
· Enough water & food for a week
· Vet contacts
Losing a pet during a fire is a devastating event for any family. Taking some precautions before the danger is imminent can help prevent the loss of life.
“If you do lose your pet during a bushfire contact your local RSPCA and give a good description of your pet, microchip information and area last seen,” Crighton says. “This will help immensely when reuniting pets and owners.”
All That Smoke
The threat of smoke is also a huge problem for many pet owners currently in fire zones. Vets around these areas are witnessing an increase in breathing-related issues and nausea.
“Currently the smoke is choking in some major cities, and our pets will also be feeling the effects of this,” Crighton says. “Pet owners do need to take some steps to help their pets during this time.”
For cats – keep them inside during this time, with plenty of food, water, and a litter tray. PIA also advises wiping down your cat daily with a soft damp cloth to remove any ash or debris from their coats.
“Cats are prolific cleaning machines, removing the ash from their coats can help with stomach upsets during this time,” Crighton says. “Dogs will also benefit from a regular rinse with fresh water.”
Dogs also need to be kept inside as much as possible until the smoke clears. PIA also notes that if your pet is struggling with the smoke to seek veterinary treatment quickly.
“Many brachycephalic dogs breeds such as French Bulldogs may be struggling with the smoke more than other dogs and cats,” Crighton says. “If you are concerned about your pet’s breathing seek help quickly.”