Hurricane Irene Pet Safety Tips

With Hurricane Irene approaching fast, it is imperative to assume that if conditioners are not safe for you, they certainly are not safe for your pet.  Follow these tips to ensure the safety of your pet in critical conditions.

1.  Do not assume that your pet will be okay to fend for itself if left behind, even if you leave days worth of food and water.  A domesticated animal relies completely on it’s owner and can become scared, anxious, or lost if left behind.  With heavy flood warnings in effect for most areas on the east coast and potential power outages, it could be days before rescue crews arrive to your home.  Take your pet with you if your area is evacuated, it is your best bet for ensuring your pets safety.  Look on your counties web site to find hurricane shelters that will take pets if you do not have a friend or relative who can provide refuge.  Remember, hurricane shelters are a last resort and should not be turned to unless all other options are exhausted.

2.  If you decided to ride out the storm with your pet at home, take steps to keep it calm and comfortable.  If you can, take your dog out to relieve himself before the storm hits hard.  If not, keep your pet (and yourself) indoors at all times.  It is not worth risking your life or your pet’s life to give him a potty break, as falling tree limbs can cause severe injury or even death.  Put down some newspaper or puppy training pads on a floor that can easily be cleaned up.  Gather some of his favorite treats and toys to play with him and keep him comfortable and happy.  For anxious dogs, a few drops of lavender oil behind the ears can help sooth jittery nerves.  Most importantly, stay calm.  Your pet can sense your fear and stress levels so it is best to stay calm to keep your pet calm.

3.  Make sure your pet has proper identification should it become lost whether you decide to wait out the storm at your home or take refuge someplace else.  Pets can become frightened with unfamiliar noises and conditions and run off unexpectedly.  ID tags should be worn with your name, phone number, and any medical needs your pet may have.  If you don’t have time to get ID tags, write the information on the pets collar with permanent marker.  Make sure contact information is clearly labeled on any pet carriers or cages used.

4.  Pack 3-7 days worth of supplies if you choose to head to a hotel, shelter, or friends house.  Canned dog food with pop tops and kibble are great options.  Be sure to keep kibble dry as it can spoil if it gets wet.  Aluminum roasting pans work great for disposable litter pans.  Pack a blanket to comfort, wrap, or transport your pet with should it become frightened.  Keep all medical records and medications in a sealed baggie to prevent water damage.  Anything that your pet needs on a daily basis should be considered – and remember the doggie bags!

Severe weather warnings are not something to take lightly, and these tips can help keep your pet safe in extreme weather conditions.  Be safe and stay dry!

Article written by Melissa McVeigh of Fur-Endly Pet Care
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