6 Ways to Protect Our Pets from Ashfalls

Various health concerns were raised this week from the Taal Volcano’s recent eruption. Its ash spewing began on January 12, 2020 and, at the moment of writing, is showing no signs of stopping any time soon. The half-mile high column of ashes was released into the atmosphere, blanketing nearby cities and provinces in clouds of ash falls.

Affected Filipinos have taken precautions for any possible health complications that the ash fall could bring. Evacuations were implemented. Face masks were dutifully worn. Doors and windows remained bolted shut. While these are all important practices that would help ensure our safety, we need to remind ourselves of the wellness of our pets as well. They are vulnerable to the health hazards of ash falls and requires our attention in ensuring that they remain safe and healthy during these calamities.

Here are some of the precautionary tips that we could practice in taking care of our pets during and after ash falls.

1. Keep your pets indoors.

Exposure to ash can cause serious damage to your pet’s eyes, skin, and respiratory system. Prolonged exposure can also be fatal since animals inhale more particles at a time than humans. Do not forget to close off your doggie doors.

2. If your pet did go outside, remove the ashes from their body immediately.

Do this by vacuuming them or giving them a bath. You can also wipe the ashes off with fresh towel. Do not let them lick the ash from their body.

3. Check their food and water bowls.

Make sure that their food and water bowls are not exposed and are free from ash. Frequently change the water in their bowls too.

4. Watch out for signs of respiratory problems.

These symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, sneezing, etc. If these symptoms are present, have your pets checked by a veterinarian immediately.

5. Keep your surroundings clean.

Sweep or wash off the ashes from yards, patios, or other outdoor areas. Do not let your pets sniff around or play in areas where ashes have settled on.

6. Prepare an emergency kit for your pet.

This would be incredibly useful for when emergency evacuations are needed. Make sure to include the following items in your kit.
• Collar/harness and leash for each dog and a carrier for each cat.
• Canned or dry food that will last three to seven days
• Pet feeding dishes and water bowls
• Cat litter, small litter box, litter scoop, and plastic bags for waste disposal
• Photocopies and/or USB stick with medical records. Vaccination records are a must.
• Waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires
• Pet first-aid kit
• Favorite toy or bed and favorite treats
• Information tag and photographs of your pets