Speaking of Pets: The fire is over, now what? Part 2 of 2 | VailDaily.com

Speaking of Pets: The fire is over, now what? Part 2 of 2

By Joan Merriam
Special to the Daily
Fires can be disruptive to pets' routines.
CalFire | Special to the Daily

You, your pets, and your home have survived the wildfire. But now what?

If you’re still evacuated, stay informed about the fire status. Check for updates through Eagle County’s Emergency Management website and trusted media sources.

Lost Pets

If you’ve lost your pet, first call your local animal shelter. If your pet is microchipped, call the microchip company to let them know your pet is missing.  There are a number of free mobile apps through the Apple App Store or Google Play where you can create digital “missing pet” flyers.


Once you’re back home, remember that your pets may be extremely disoriented, since familiar smells, buildings, and objects could be gone or drastically different. Keep your dog on a leash outside, and when your pets are indoors make sure they don’t escape through a damaged door or window.

Be aware that just like humans, animals suffer stress after a disaster, so do everything you can to return to your normal routine. If you usually take morning walks with your dog, start again; get mealtimes and bedtimes back onto the same schedule, and set aside time for play and petting.   


In the Vail area, flooding—and dangers like venomous snakes slithering through flood waters—isn’t usually a worry, but rain-induced flash floods are a very real hazard after a wildfire. Stay away from burn-scarred areas and natural drainages, which can often turn into deadly, debris-filled mudslides after a heavy rain.

Other dangers can lurk in the aftermath of a wildfire: watch for wild animals that might have chosen your vacated home as a shelter.

Don’t drink or allow your pets to drink water from the faucet until emergency officials give clearance, as water supply systems can become polluted during wildfires.

Above all, do your best to get back to life after the tragedy, and help your pets do the same.

Joan Merriam lives in Northern California with her golden retriever Joey and Maine coon cat Indy. She emphasizes that she’s not a veterinarian or animal behaviorist — just an animal lover who’s been writing about pets since 2012. You can reach her at joan@joanmerriam.com.

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