Between floods, tornadoes, and massive thunderstorms, Austin residents are no strangers to natural disasters. With summer right around the corner, many of us are gearing up for the inclement weather that is sure to arrive.
Pet owners have an added worry when it comes to pets and natural disasters. Learn how to keep your pet safe and calm when bad weather strikes with expert tips from your friends at Westlake Animal Hospital.
Pets and Natural Disasters: Safety First!
Having a plan in place before disaster strikes will help you keep your cool and allow you to think clearly during a potential emergency. Take the following steps to help ensure your pet’s safety:
- Have your pet microchipped if you have not already done so. Because collars and ID tags can easily become lost or damaged, microchipping provides the best chance of being reunited with a lost pet.
- In the event of an evacuation, never leave your pet behind in the home! Identify a trusted friend, family member, or boarding kennel ahead of time that will take your pet in case you aren’t able to find a place where you can stay together.
- Keep up with your pet’s regularly scheduled wellness exams. A pet who is not current on vaccines and parasite preventatives may not be allowed into a shelter or hotel during an emergency evacuation situation.
- Make an "emergency kit” for your pet and keep it in an easy to access place. Include a leash/carrier, a copy of vaccination records, and any medications your pet is on.
Keeping Them Calm
Although it’s far more likely that we will experience the usual round of noisy summer storms this year, and not a true natural disaster, your pet probably can’t tell the difference. Fortunately, there are ways to help an anxious pet feel more secure during a thunderstorm, fireworks display, or other noisy event:
- Never leave a pet home alone during a thunderstorm or fireworks display. Bring outdoor pets inside and keep them there until the event is over. Stay nearby to provide soothing verbal and touch-based reassurance.
- Keep doors and windows closed to prevent pets from accidentally escaping.
- Muffle the sounds outside by playing the TV or radio at a low volume, or turning on a fan.
- Consider using a Thundershirt or other pressure-based garment designed for anxiety reduction (just be sure to remove it once the event is over, as they are not designed for long-term use).
If you are still having trouble managing your pet’s noise-related anxiety, or have any other questions regarding pets and natural disasters, please don’t hesitate to give us a call!