We’re getting ready to enter the month of November and have already experienced two major snowstorms that have blanketed northern Colorado. However, our most recent snowstorm isn’t a season-ending event for our fire season and we need to continue to be diligent in protecting both ourselves and our pets from the wildfire smoke that could continue.

The smoke from the fires that have been burning since August 13 can affect your small companion animals, horses, and livestock. The thing to keep in mind is that if the smoke is affecting you and your health, you need to take the proper precautions to keep your animals safe as well.

Larimer Humane Society’s supervising veterinarian, Lindsey Gapstur, says it’s important to keep an eye on your animals during these times. “Poor air quality and ash from wildfires can affect animals and livestock, much like it does people. We recommend providing shelter, clean food and water, and an indoor space if possible to allow protection from the larger pieces of ash.”

“Birds have increased sensitivity to poor air quality and should be kept indoors when air quality is poor if feasible,” says Gapstur. “If your animal is showing any signs of respiratory distress, cough, nasal discharge, or lethargy, please consult your veterinarian.”

If you have livestock, the American Veterinary Medical Association advises families to plan to give them four to six weeks to recuperate after the air quality returns to normal. They say that attempting to handle, move, or transport livestock may delay healing and compromise your animals’ performance.

The bottom line for all of us is to stay safe as we hope for an end to occur soon with our Colorado fire season. Keeping your pet indoors as much as possible, and providing them with some extra couch snuggles, is a great way to go.