Bay Area

Pets can experience serious health problems after exposure to smoke

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) - With all the smoke in the air, people are not the only ones who need to limit their time outside.

Your pets can also experience serious health problems after exposure to smoke.

Just like humans, a short amount of time is OK for your cats and dogs. But too long could be deadly.

People were enjoying the day at the dog park like they do most days, but Thursday's air quality is far from routine.

Bill King owns Sophie, a Shepard black lab mix.

"She seems to do fairly well out here," King said. "She runs and runs and runs and hasn't had any problems like humans would."

But veterinarians we spoke with disagree.

"They are very prone to secondary smoke inhalation and lung cancer as well as people," Dr. Jyl Rubin said. "Dogs and cats are going to breathe in the same stuff you or I are going to breathe in."

That's why Dr. Brianna Benedetto says people with dogs should take them only on short walks dog at this time. 

It's best in the morning or the evening when there's more moisture in the air.

"And no exercise, no frisbee, no playing ball," Dr. Benedetto said. "Just not right now, it's just not a good time."

Dr. Rubin says she's been treating pets from an animal shelter in Paradise. The shelter was destroyed.

Most of the animals she's seeing have respiratory issues.

"And unfortunately, we've lost a lot of them from smoke inhalation burns," Dr. Rubin said.

Dogs are not alone. Cats and other pets can also feel the effects of smoke.

So, it's best to also keep them inside as long as possible. 

As for putting masks on pets, Dr, Benedetto says to make sure they are not the ones for humans.

"They're not going to work, they just don't fit right," Dr. Benedetto said. "You know with the masks, you need them to have full face coverage and they just don't develop one that's for a long breed snout like this one."

Doctors say there are some specialty pet masks, but they're not easy to find and often don't stay on right.

Vets tell KRON4 at this point in time, it's better to keep your pets indoors. 

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