Our furry friends are often more precious to us than any belongings so it’s important to remember to prepare your pets for extreme weather too.
Storms present a lot of danger for pets. They can be harmed, lost and incredibly frightened during big weather events, so it’s important to think of them when devising a plan for storm season. Pets can often can sense storms before they arrive, so always be aware of impending weather events and make precautions before Fluffy decides to try and make a run for it.
“Some dogs in particular suffer from what we call storm or firework phobia,” says RSPCA spokesperson Michael Beatty. “Often they will sense the storm coming long before humans can and the noise of the thunder absolutely terrifies them. They then try to escape from areas they normally wouldn’t think of leaving.”
Our tips for keeping your pets safe in storms:
- Bring your pets inside – don’t wait to see if the storm hits before locking your pets safely away
- Ensure your pets have up-to-date identification and vaccinations – in case they do escape, this will help to bring them home quickly and in good health
- Consider your pets in your evacuation plan – if you have to leave, will you be able to bring your pets with you to your destination? Some relief shelters and hotels don’t accept pets, so consider leaving them with friends and investigate boarding kennels, veterinarians, and what shelters accept animals. Always ensure you properly restrain your pets, even when travelling in cars, as their agitation from the storm can cause them to act out of character
- Remember your agisted animals (pets kept off-premises on another property, like horses) – consider their safety and incorporate plans for them in your evacuation strategy
- Cater for your pets in your emergency kit – don’t forget to include their food, water and medication when preparing
- If pets go missing, check with local pounds, animal shelters, animal control authorities, RSPCA and boarding kennels – and remember to take a recent photo of your pet with you to help identify them quickly
- Animals can be distraught and disoriented after a storm – try and keep them calm and comforted during and after by re-establishing routine. Storms can wash away the usual sights and smells of the neighbourhood so keep an eye on pets for a few days after to make sure they’re settling in again
- Watch out for unexpected dangers – don’t let pets roam free in case there are fallen power lines or even snakes that have been disturbed by the weather