It’s that time of year again, hurricane season. September is the peak month but October can bring surprisingly strong storms. It’s time to stock up on supplies, strengthen your home and prepare for the storm. But as we enter National Animal Safety and Protection Month, remember it is also important to know how to prepare your pets for a big storm.
Before the Storm
It is important to…
Put a tag on your pet’s collar with your name, address and phone number or have them microchipped so that they may be returned to you in case you get separated during the storm.
Have a plan for which family member will be responsible for your pets needs (i.e. who will grab the pet, the food, the water, the disaster preparedness kit, the carrier, etc.)
Know a safe place your pets can go in case your family needs to evacuate or seek shelter where pets are allowed. These locations may include a friend or family member’s home, a boarding facility or you can even go to a pet friendly hotel.
Bring pets inside
Have your pet carrier ready and practice loading your pets in the carriers in order to familiarize your pets.
During the Storm
If you cannot evacuate…
Choose a safe room in your home to ride out the storm. A room with no windows is the safest place in your home to take your entire family, including your pets.
It is important that you stay with your pets throughout the storm. Check in on their needs (i.e. food, water, emotional support)
Know your pet’s hiding spaces in your home. If they run, that is where they might be.
After the Storm
Make sure to…
Ensure the storm has fully passed before going outside and assess the damage before allowing pets outside again.
Give your pets the time to reorient themselves. Things like familiar scents and landmarks may have been altered during the storm.
Keep pets away from fallen trees, sharp debris, downed power lines, contaminated water, etc. until those things are taken care of.
Pay attention to pet behavior. Be sensitive to the changes in your pets behavior, they may become more aggressive or self-protective. Comfort them with kind words, lots of pats/hugs and provide a safe/quiet environment for them.