How To Protect Your Dog From A Forest Fire

by Amanda Filippone, on Sep 24, 2021 5:15:00 PM

Forest fires occur frequently, totaling 70,000 per year in the U.S. Millions of Americans are also dog owners, which is why it is important to protect our pets when these natural disasters occur. Forest fires can occur for a variety of reasons, whether it be from humans or naturally, and it is crucial to have the knowledge on how to prevent your pets from being harmed.

Make Sure Emergency Items Are Easily Accessible

Prepare a couple of pet emergency bags. Fill them with at least 3 days worth of dog food, as well as any medications, a leash, waste bags, and water. Leave these prepared bags in your car, your front door, and back door so that no matter where you exit you are able to grab one.

Practice Evacuating Your Dog

Evacuating your dog can be stressful and difficult to operate, so it’s important that you get your dog used to the idea of evacuating in case anything ever happens. Practicing will ensure that everything runs smoothly. This can be especially helpful if you have more than one dog. Practice getting them all out together and in a timely manner. Make it fun for them, and reward your dog with treats once they evacuate properly. Practicing the evacuation process can prevent pets from not following certain commands and end up in harm's way.

Regularly Monitor Your Pets Health

Before, during, and after the evacuation it is crucial to always monitor your dog's health. Strong winds can blow smoke, ash, and fire-hot embers from forest fires into your neighborhood. Smoke can harm your dog’s eyes, and cause them to cough or wheeze and have shortness of breath. Make sure you are limiting the amount of time your pet is outside, and clear their paws and coats to prevent them from inhaling any harmful smoke.

Plan Escape Routes

Confirm with family and friends who live outside of fire zones if you and your pet are able to stay with them in case a disaster does happen. Identify escape routes in your area as well that you can take in order to avoid the path of the forest fire.

Always Keep An Identification Collar On Your Pet

Your dog should never be without their identification collar, especially when there is a wildfire going on. Always be sure that your pet has the proper identification on, in case they go missing during the duration of the forest fire.

If your pets are prone to running or hiding, it may be in your best interest to have them sleep in a crate or carrier if they can tolerate it. Especially when there is a forest fire, they could be more likely to run or hide if they are scared.

Keep Your Indoor Air Clean

While the forest fire is occurring, do not fry or broil foods, burn candles, use fireplaces or wood stoves, or smoke tobacco products. These can add harmful particles into your home. Do not spend time outside unless you are evacuating. Even after the forest fire is over, if it is still smoky do not take your dog for a walk.

Consider Getting Your Pets Trained

It’s important that your dog listen to your commands, especially in situations where they could be put into danger. Taking the time beforehand to train your pet can decrease the likelihood that they do not respond to you during a stressful situation. During a forest fire, your pets are most likely going to be afraid, and it is crucial that they are trained to obey commands in order to get them out safely.

Understand The Signs

If your animal has any of the following signs, it is crucial to call your veterinarian right away.

  • Coughing or gagging
  • Red or watery eyes, nasal discharge, inflammation of throat or mouth
  • Trouble breathing, including open mouth breathing, more noise when breathing
  • Fatigue or weakness, disorientation, stumbling
    Reduced appetite or thirst

It Is Better To Be Safe Than Sorry

Following these tips will ensure that you and your pet are safe during a forest fire. It is definitely recommended that you prepare if your area has a history of forest fires, and the main priority should be the safety of yourself and your pets.


Author Bio: The professional dog trainers at Michael’s Pack, including owner and head trainer Michael Schaier, provide private in-home dog training in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Our training is based on positive reinforcement, behavior modification, and holistic methods. We strongly believe that “Communication is Key” and that the training process should strengthen the relationship between you and your pet by building mutual respect and trust. Check us out at Michael's Pack

Topics:safetyforest firesfire fighting

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