Hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and even floods, are all examples of emergencies that everyone experiences, including our pets. Would you know what to do to safeguard your pet in the case of severe weather or a disaster? Pets, pet owners, and first responders may be put at risk if pets are not included in preparations for these circumstances. Even if you make every effort to keep them safe, pets left behind during a crisis are likely to be harmed, lost, or worse.
As much as we feel anxious about our safety and want to keep ourselves away from injury and disaster during extreme weather or unprecedented times, our pets feel almost if not the equal amount of fear when faced with these natural events. In the midst of occurrences where pets deal with these situations especially when owners are forced to leave their homes, what should you do to ensure your fur friends’ safety?
Before the Emergency Happens
Most are aware that when it comes to avoiding disasters, it is always best to be prepared before these happenings occur. With this in mind, you should familiarize yourself with the common disasters that happen within your area and consider various options for giving the needed care to safeguard your pet. Disasters happen without prior warning so before anything happens, you could manage to do the following for your pet:
- Provide a collar for your pet that has a name tag and updated contact information as means of identification.
- Keep your pets’ leash or carrier near the house’s exit for them to easily get out of the when unwanted happenings like a house fire occur unexpectedly.
- Assure that when you bring your pet on road trips or car rides, they would have the proper equipment like car seats or harnesses that are designated for them.
- Like preparing a disaster kit for yourself and your family, you may also prepare a disaster kit for your pets so when evacuation is needed, the process would go smooth and fast. You may ask advice from your pet’s vet to put up a disaster kit for your fur buddy.
- You could train your pets to attend to signals and signs of possible disasters or occurrences that might happen. Know where your pet hides when they feel anxious, tense, or scared, and identify what places they go to in your house when they feel comfortable or safe.
During the Emergency
Since disasters, especially natural ones are most likely inevitable and hard to avoid, you should come up with ways to assure that the safety of your pet/s is not compromised given that these circumstances come. Below is a list of the things you need to keep in mind to keep your pets safe given the situation that an unforeseen crisis happens to them, especially at times when you are not around the house.
Many pets, especially dogs, suffer from storm or fireworks anxiety, and medicines may be administered to help them cope. Always be reminded that it’s better to give dogs a dosage of medicine before a storm to observe how they react and that pets should always have trial runs of medication while the veterinarian is accessible in case concerns arise. When medication is not prescribed, you could also try the wrapping method that keeps your pets feeling calm especially when exposed to a loud or disturbing environment.
Make sure to choose a secure location, preferably one with no or few windows. Close off any tiny spaces where scared pets could become trapped such as vents or beneath heavy furniture.
Make sure your home’s shelter is clear of hazards for your pets. Many people store pesticides in the same basement where they may seek refuge during a storm. Unfortunately, pets are excellent at locating bait and are all too ready to consume it.
Leashes and carriers, food, medication, and water are all essentials that you, as a pet owner should have on hand. Pet owners should be aware of their pets’ preferred hiding spots so that they can be quickly located in an emergency.
After the Emergency
Familiar scents and landmarks may have changed after an emergency has struck your area. Because pets might become confused and disoriented when moved or taken outside, it’s vital to keep them on a leash or in a carrier. Snakes and other wildlife and downed power lines especially after floods are two risks to be wary of for pets and people.
- When you return to your home, check your house for sharp items, spilled chemicals, and exposed wires. After a flood, flash flood, thunderstorm, or hurricane, animals’ behavior may change significantly. Animals that are normally peaceful and pleasant may become agitated. If you see any indications of stress, pain, or disease in your pets, contact a veterinarian.
- When finding a lost pet, make sure your family is in a secure area. Inform one of the pet caregivers if you are in a shelter that houses pets. Give the pet sitter a flier about a lost pet. You may also call local animal control and post missing pet posters in the area whenever the weather is safe, in addition to shelters and rescue groups.
- In taking care of pets that are injured, avoid hugging an injured pet and keep your face away from its mouth, since this may lead the animal to become more frightened or in agony. Any touch with your pet should be done carefully and softly. If your pet becomes anxious or worried, you should stop. Attempt to get your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible without putting yourself or your family in danger.
All fur parents care for their pets. In times of disaster and emergency, we should make sure that we are well-informed, well-prepared, and ready to protect both ourselves and our animal companions, making sure that both would remain safe and sound during dangerous times.