It’s not usually something we like to think about, but it is necessary: pet safety during storms.
As our country is battered with hurricanes and tropical storms in the south and east, wildfires across the west, and looks ahead to a snowy north in only a couple month, it’s always wise to be prepared for what’s coming—or could happen. Whether hunkering down to wait out a storm, or evacuating to safer locations, an emergency plan helps keep all family members safe.
We know to keep a few extra day’s food and water on hand. We map the best route to safety. You keep a warming blanket in your car in case of a snow emergency. It is equally important to consider how to best get our pets to safety—and prepare them for the journey. Here are some simple, inexpensive things to think about as you develop your family’s emergency action plan.
If you are separated from your family, you will need a way to communicate with them. With your pet, especially if he is frightened or injured, he may not be able to or may be too scared to communicate back to you. Since pets can’t carry a flashlight, a reflective collar or vest is a good idea. If there is time, attaching a blinking collar light—one that you might use while walking—could help. If you have one, a blaze (or safety) orange collar is a good choice.
Another consideration is whether or not your pet will be wet for long periods of time. Normally it’s not an issue, but, if your dog is in the water or any damp environment for an extended period of time, you may want to swap a cotton collar for a breathable vest or waterproof collar. There are even vests designed for flotation, which is particularly important in a water emergency (e.g., on a boat at sea or in a situation where flooding is imminent).
Don’t forget the value of leather: it’s a natural fiber, so it breathes. Plus, it doesn’t easily burn, which is why forest fire fighters use it.
In cold weather, rough terrain, or if dangerous debris exists (or is expected to be present), appropriate dog boots are important, especially with certain breeds. Likewise, a warm coat or vest may mean the difference between safety and harm.
Get to know your pet’s limitations and plan accordingly.
You and your family will find great comfort in knowing that an ounce of prevention may make a world of difference.
If you are currently affected by the aftermath of recent storms, our thoughts and prayers are with you!