Whether it’s a hurricane, bushfire, tornado or flood, it is very important to ensure the safety of every member of your family, including your pets. It pays to plan ahead for natural disasters. Here are some tips.

Preparing For The Worst

You should have a plan of action. There are only two options in a disaster scenario: either you evacuate your home or stay there.

If your town ever has to evacuate, you must do so immediately, without hesitation. But before leaving, you need to have your emergency kit or “go bag” ready. Prepare your emergency supplies in advance, well before the evacuation. They should be in a safe and accessible place, ready for loading into your bag.

Your emergency supplies should include sufficient food and water for three to seven days for both human and canine family members; waterproof plastic covers for your medical history; and  a two-week supply of medications. You should also include your pet’s photos (in the event you get separated and need to post flyers). Rounding out the list are cleaning supplies, food bowls, blankets, and toys.

Make sure that you know the location of the shelter or hotel. Check to see whether pets are allowed. Never leave your pets alone at home during a natural disaster.

Before The Storm Hits

Your pets should already be wearing their ID tags with your contact details – regardless of whether you are evacuating or staying in. You may want to consider implanting a microchip with identity information on your pet well before the storm arrives. Your vet can perform the implant. It is no more painful – or complicated – than a routine shot. Be sure that all your contact details on the microchip are up to date.

If you are staying home, be prepared for a sudden change of plans such as an order to evacuate. Keep your pets leashed in their crates inside the house. If you have never crated your dog, he will need to become familiar with his crate long before a natural disaster. Leave it out for him to examine and play in. That way he will accept the crate should you ever have to use it during an emergency.

Secure your pets before the storm. Once the storm hits, pets and the owner should stay in a secured, windowless room as much as possible.  Your emergency supplies and carriers should be close by. You should have at least seven days of supplies for humans and animals.

When The Storm Hits

Soothe and calm your dogs when the storm hits. Never tranquilize your dogs. This will not make the ordeal easier for them. You need them to be as alert as you are during the crisis.

Most pets are afraid of loud noises, thunderstorms and other storms. When faced with any of these, your pet could become extremely agitated. They need you to be calm during this time.

They can sense your emotions – for example, whether you are panicky, afraid or confident – so a calm demeanor can make them less fearful. Make sure you have enough treats for them, both to reward good behavior and to calm them when the strong winds and booming thunder arrive.

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