Being prepared means planning for the worst. This is difficult and upsetting to think about, and it’s not easy to not prioritize with our busy lives. However, the pictures on the news of distressed, lost animals following the hurricanes in Texas and the fires in California show how important it is.
How to keep your pet safe and calm in bad weather
1. Know your area
Understanding where you live, knowing what the climate is like and which potential disasters could affect your local area is a simple but an essential starting point.
In an emergency, always keep up to date on the news through the TV, radio and internet where possible. There are lots of useful weather alert apps available too, such as this one from FEMA.
Most importantly, do not leave your pet outside where they could be seriously harmed. Local knowledge of emergency shelters, pet friendly hotels, boarding houses and animal hospitals is essential – especially when many human shelters do not admit pets for safety reasons.
It might not be as dramatic as a flood or a hurricane, but a thunderstorm can be just as traumatic for animals. They are extremely sensitive to static in the air and can run off and injure themselves. A simple way of minimizing your pets’ reaction to a static electricity is rubbing them gently with tumble dryer sheets. Keep a pack in your Pet Emergency Kit.
Make sure that your pet is microchipped and that the contact information is current. If your pet goes missing proof of ownership and identity documents (as well as medical records) need to be up to date and easily available. It is a good idea to include a contact number of a friend or relative on the microchip who lives is outside of the immediate area.
2. Know your pet
Being aware of your pet’s personality will help you know how they are likely to react in an emergency. To keep them calm and safe, stick to their routine as much as possible.
Developing a buddy system with a neighbour who you and your pet likes is a good way of looking out for each other and knowing your pets’ favorite hiding places could save you a lot of stress.
3. Your Pet’s Personal Emergency Kit
By having this available you can ensure their comfort and safety. FEMA have produced a useful leaflet about these kits, and recommend that you should keep 2 separate ones, a kit to have in the house and an extra, smaller one for travel.
3 days of their usual food in an airtight container including their usual daily supplements, such as Glucosamine or Omega 3 for cats and dogs, routine is a good way to keep your pet calm.
3 days of water specifically for your pets.
Medicines and medical records
d) Important documents
Registration information, adoption papers and vaccination documents. Talk to your veterinarian about microchipping and enrolling your pet in a recovery database.
e) First aid kit
Cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors; antibiotic ointment; flea and tick prevention; latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Include a pet first aid reference book.
Colllar or harness with ID tag, rabies tag and a leash.
g) Crate or pet carrier
Have a sturdy, safe crate or carrier in case you need to evacuate. The carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down.
Pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach.
i) A picture of you and your pet together
If you become separated, a picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you. Add species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics. Keep this up to date.
j) Familiar items
Familiar items, such as treats, toys and bedding can help reduce stress for your pet.
k) ‘Pets Inside’ stickers
If you had to leave your pet inside your property, these will help rescue workers to identify that your pet has been left.
4. Help, I haven’t made a plan!
Don’t panic! Contact shelters and rescue groups near you or contact your local government animal agency.
At Tango Champ, we believe safe pets are happy pets. It is always best to have a plan and build a kit for your four-legged friends. It is just as important to keep information current and make sure that medicines, food and supplements don't go out of date.