Protect Your Pets: Before, During & After a Storm

Now that we are officially in hurricane season, there is no better time to begin preparing for the possible disruptions extreme weather can cause. You may already have the basic necessities stored away and your documents and photos easily accessible, but have you considered making preparations for your pets as well? We all love our animal companions, but during the 2017 hurricane season, countless pets were abandoned or lost in the chaos. Consider your pet’s safety as you prepare this year – before, during and after a storm.

Before the Storm:

Assemble an emergency kit in case you need to evacuate your home, just like you would for yourself and your family. In the kit, include care items such as:

  • Sufficient food and water for at least a week
  • A photo with your pet, paperwork, or any other identifying documents you may have that may serve as proof of ownership if they end up missing. If your pet is microchipped, make sure their information and tags are up-to-date.
  • A copy of any medical and vaccination records you have, as well as a current rabies vaccination tag
  • Likewise, be sure to gather any medication your pet may be on.
  • Create a home away from home for them: gather a sturdy yet comfortable carrier, along with some comfort items like a favorite toy or cozy blanket.
  • Don’t forget small care necessities, like a leash, collar or harness, and waste bags or litter box.

If you will be riding out the storm out at home, keep in mind that severe weather can lead to power outages that can last for days or even weeks at a time. You may want to consider installing a standby generator – a backup power supply that can help provide comfort and safety inside your home even if the power goes out.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to research local shelters that allow pets, and even contact them in advance about pre-registration or any special requirements for pets so you’re not left scrambling at the last minute.

During the Storm:

  • Keep pets away from floodwaters – do not let them play, swim or drink, as there can be harmful bacteria and toxins.
  • In fact, be sure to bring your pets inside before the storm begins and keep them there as long as possible.
  • Make sure your pets are wearing a securely-fastened collar with their most current identification information. If you need to evacuate, it’s a good idea to also include the phone number and address of your temporary shelter.
  • Just as you would with small children, try to remain calm, as pets can be very intuitive and sense your fear. Keeping calm will help your pets stay calm as well.

After the Storm:

  • Even after the storm has passed, do not let pets roam freely. Continue to keep them away from lingering floodwaters, as well as any other hazardous debris on the ground.
  • If your pet was lost or alone at any point during the storm, check them thoroughly for injuries, and treat any minor wounds immediately. If you are unsure, take them to a veterinarian for evaluation.
  • If you sustained damage to your home or the surrounding areas, your pet may be disoriented. Keep them on a leash until they are able to reorient themselves.
  • However, the best way to help your pet recover is to resume your normal routine as quickly as possible!

Everyone, including your pet, wants to feel as comfortable and safe as possible during the uncertain times of severe weather. Always be prepared and have peace of mind for yourself, your family, and your pets.

Source: Cummins Newsroom, June 20, 2018