Care of pets exposed to smoke and ash

Pets exposed to smoke or ash from fires can experience potential harm and injury in a number of ways including when eating or breathing, through their mouth, nose and eyes and from skin exposure.

Ash on your pets coat or feet may also be swallowed through grooming.

Evacuating with pets

  • Take your pets and any medications with you.
  • If your pet has been outdoors and exposed to smoke or ash in the air or on the ground — wash them with shampoo designed for pets. Make sure you clean the feet of pets if they have run through ash.
  • If you have any concerns about the health of your pet, contact your local vet.

Staying at home with your pet

To minimise the likely exposure of pets:

  • Keep pets confined inside when smoke is at its worst.
  • Minimise the time pets spend outdoors.
  • Exercise pets in a location away from areas affected by smoke.
  • Take pets away from the affected area regularly.

Reduce the risk of your pet consuming ash

  • Manually groom with a brush.
  • Wash pets with a shampoo designed for pets.
  • Clean the feet of pets as they come back indoors if they have run through ash.
  • Avoid leaving pet food and water bowls outdoors — clean and fill them daily.

Higher risk pets

Pets with a higher risk of being affected by smoke and ash are:

  • animals with heart or breathing conditions are at higher risk of being adversely affected by the smoke
  • animals with pre-existing skin conditions that makes them more prone to licking and grooming.

If your pet has one of these conditions, speak to your vet.

Consider having higher risk pets stay outside of the smoke affected area for the time the area is affected.

Outdoor animal facilities

When smoke is at its worst:

  • cover outdoor fish ponds
  • bring caged birds indoors into cleaner air.

Contact your vet

If you have any concerns about the health of your pet, contact your local vet.

Page last updated: 29 Jan 2024