What to Do If Your Dog Inhales Smoke

Smoke inhalation in dogs is as dangerous as it is for humans. Exposure to smoke/carbon monoxide, usually the result of being trapped in a burning building or being close to fire, can kill even days after the accident happens.

What happens when your dog inhales smoke?

Similar to people, when your dog inhales smoke, they are breathing in harmful chemicals, such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and cyanide. This leads to many immediate issues, as well as to serious consequences during the next few days. Depending on how long the dog has been exposed to smoke and what sort of chemicals have been burning, the dog could suffer from heat damage to the upper airway and lining of the nose, lung injury and lower airways injury; or system toxicity caused by the dangerous chemicals in the smoke.

If the lungs have been damaged, the next few days are critical for developing bacterial infections, which could be fatal.

When to take your dog to the vet?

If the fire hasn’t been too serious and your dog doesn’t have visible injuries, you might assume she’s fine. However, sometimes smoke inhalation might be dangerous as dogs at every good at hiding health issues. Here’s what to watch for:

  • Vomiting or foaming at the mouth;
  • Sneezing and coughing which doesn’t go away in a couple of hours;
  • Abnormal behaviour (e.g. hiding and avoiding others);
  • Irritated eyes;
  • Difficulty breathing;
  • Slight burns, swelling, or inflammation.

If any of these symptoms occur after your dog has been exposed to smoke and don’t go away within a couple of hours, take your dog to the vet immediately.

smoke inhalation dog

What’s the treatment for smoke inhalation?

The treatment depends entirely on the type of damage that’s been done. The veterinarian will examine your dog and a complete blood profile will be conducted. The most important think is to re-establish normal respiratory function as soon as possible. The usual treatment will include some or all of the below:

  • Oxygen therapy that will happen at the clinic;
  • In more severe cases, intubation or a surgery might be needed to open the airways;
  • Blood or plasma transfusions;
  • Fluid administration;
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs;
  • Antibiotics;
  • Rest & plenty of water.

If your dog accidentally inhales smoke from a nearby fire, the most important thing is monitor his behaviour and take him to the vet as soon as you notice some of the symptoms listed above. Do not assume he’s fine if doesn’t have obvious burns, smoke inhalation might be poisonous days after contact with toxic smokes.

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