SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Experts say the poor air quality Northern California is experiencing due to the Camp Fire is not only dangerous to people, but also to pets.

The air could contain traces of not only wood smoke but also plastics, solvents and other chemicals that burned in Paradise.

“It damages their lungs, especially because they are smaller,” said Veterinarian Kelly Byam. “They’re lower to the ground where all the particles sink.”

While you may smell smoke, your dog is smelling disaster.

“Every particle they’re smelling, they know every loss, they know everything that’s happening,” Byam said. “And they’re probably feeling pretty overwhelmed right now.”

Sacramento resident Denise Sanchez says her puppy Emma has been a little more protective.

“She’s a beagle and she sniffs and smells everything, so she seems a little bit more on alert and stressed,” Sanchez said.

And while your pooch may want to take a spin around the block, vets say it’s probably best to let them out for business only.

“You might notice them being a little clingy,” Byam said.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has some recommendations for taking care of your pets in smoky conditions:

Keep pets indoors as much as possible.

Let them outside for only brief bathroom breaks.

Avoid intense outdoor exercise.

And when preparing for disasters, always remember to have a pet evacuation kit (crate, food, meds, leashes and water) handy.

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