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Is Your Pet Prepared for Severe Weather?

Severe Weather PetDid you know that March 2-8 is National Severe Weather Preparedness Week? When severe weather hits, you may have a plan for you and your family, but have you thought about your furry family members as well?

When lightning strikes, thunder starts rolling, or wind begins to gust heavily, your pets may become frightened or disoriented and try to run, hide, slip through open doors, jump through windows, destroy fences, dig, or chew their way out in an attempt to escape from the noise and find what they believe to be a safe place.

There are several simple steps you can take to make sure your pets are just as prepared for severe weather as you are.

Preparing for severe weather begins long before a storm actually hits. Check that your pet has proper identification; make sure your pet’s tags have your current phone number or the number for your pets vet. If your pet does escape during severe weather (or at any other time) a collar does have the potential to slip off your pet, so you may consider having them micro-chipped as well. Also make sure all vaccinations are up to date. Take photos of each of your pets and keep them on hand, if your pet becomes separated from you, you will have a way to help identify them.

When severe weather does hit, bring your pets inside. You wouldn’t want to be outside during a thunderstorm or high wind gusts and neither do your pets. If your pets will be weathering a storm in a garage or shed, make sure to put any garbage or household poisons out of your pets reach. Never leave pets tied up outside.

If you are allowing your pets outside to relieve themselves, put them on a short leash and walk out with them. Giving them limited access to the yard will minimize any potential problems, such as a pet bolting at the sound of thunder.

After severe weather has passed, before letting your pets outside, be sure to check your fences for damage. Look for any holes that your pet could squeeze through and double check that any gate latches are still locked. Do a walk through your yard and check for and remove any debris that may have blown in that could potentially harm your pet? Look out for any power lines that may have blown down into your yard.

If your plan for severe weather includes evacuating your home, be sure to account for your pets needs as well. Have a crate on hand for traveling, even if your pet enjoys car rides, having a safe place to retreat to will help make the time away from home more comfortable. Pack enough food and bottled water, any medications your pet takes, as well as any favorite toys or blankets your pet may have.

If severe weather causes your pet to be particularly anxious, be gentle, calm, and patient. They are genuinely frightened, not being disobedient, and need help dealing with what they see as a traumatic event. Stroking and brushing your dog or cat gently will help reduce stress. Crating them in a safe, interior room may help calm them as well as reduce any damage they may do to the house.

With a little planning, both you and your pet will be able to weather any storm.