Hurricane season has just begun, are you ready for the next storm?
You may do everything right to prepare yourself for the weather. You’ll get water and canned food, stock up on batteries and supplies, put all of your important documents in water proof containers, and work out an evacuation plan. But will you prepare your pets?
Here are a few tips to make sure that you and your entire family – including the four-legged members – stay safe.
- At the first sign of bad weather, bring all of your pets inside. Keep them with you through the worst of the storm. If you have skittish animals that are likely to run and hide, keep them on a leash or in a carrier so that they are safe, secure and ready to go. Remember, if the worst should happen, you may need to evacuate quickly. You don’t want to have to spend precious minutes chasing your dog or trying to pull your cat out from under the couch.
- Keep an emergency pack handy. You may have already made one up for yourself, but remember that your pet needs emergency supplies too. Have a waterproof container with your pet’s food, medication, bottled water and medical records.
- Get a rescue alert sticker that you can put on the windows of your home. These stickers let firefighters and rescuers know that there are pets inside your home, including the type and number of animals.
- Make sure that you have a plan in place in case of evacuation. You do not want to leave your pet alone at home. If possible, take them with you wherever you go. If they are unable to come with you, have a safe haven prepared along your evacuation route that can take them in and take care of them while you are gone. Whether that haven is an animal shelter, a veterinary hospital or a family friend, plan ahead of time and make sure that they have everything they need to care for your animal until you return.
- Be sure that all of your animals have collars with up-to-date ID tags. We also highly recommend that you get your animals microchipped so that they always have some form of identification with them.
- Keep a current photo of your pet with you at all times, in case you get separated.
- If the weather forces you to evacuate, keep in mind that when you and your pet return to your home, things might be very different. There may be damage, new smells, and foreign objects that can frighten or upset your animal. Be patient with them and try to give them time to adjust. You may need to keep your dogs on a leash for a while until they acclimate to their new surroundings. This will also keep them safe from hazardous debris like broken glass or downed power lines.
- Above all else, remember to stay calm. Not only will this help you deal with the challenges ahead, but your pets can sense your emotions. The calmer you are, the calmer they will be.
A little preparation can go a long way to making sure you and your pet stay secure and comfortable while you are weathering the storm. Good luck and stay safe!