High winds, thunder and lightning during severe storms often produce anxiety, fear and a need to escape for some pets. Take preparedness measures to protect and care for your pet during severe storms.
Before a Severe Storm
– Major storms can destroy fences allowing frightened pets to run away.
– Make sure your pet has some form of identification (collar, microchip) that will let people contact you if your pet becomes separated from you.
– Take a photo of the pet and keep it with its medical records.
Create a safe haven
– Try to create a safe place for your pets.
– Practice loading your pet into their cage or carrier.
– Know their favorite hiding locations.
– Some pets will feel more comfortable in a small crate or under a bed.
Try to desensitize your pet
– Over a period of time, expose your pet to an intensity level of noise that doesn’t frighten the animal.
– Pair the noise with something pleasant, like a treat or a fun game.
During a Severe Storm
– A pet’s behavior may change before, during and after the storm.
– Consult your veterinarian. Medication may be available which can help reduce your pet’s anxiety levels for short time periods.
– Distract your pet. Encourage them to engage in any activity that captures their attention and distracts them from being fearful.
– Bring pets indoor well in advance of a storm.
– NEVER leave pets tied up outside.
– If they are frightened, reassure them and remain calm.
– Pets should be provided the same cover as humans during severe weather.
– Keep pets away from windows.
– Do not give your pet a bath during a storm.
After a Severe Storm
– Be aware that a pet’s behavior may change before, during and after a disaster.
– In the first few hours after the storm, leash your pets when they go outside until they readjust to the situation.
– Keep your pet away from storm damaged areas.
– If pets cannot be found after a disaster, contact the local animal control office.
– Bring along a picture of your pet, if possible.
Article credit: Development of this educational material was by the Center for Food Security and Public Health with funding from the Multi-State Partnership for Security in Agriculture MOU-2010-HSEMD-004. June 2010