Tornado season is approaching and it’s important to have a plan to keep your pets safe throughout this storm filled season.
We see tornados happen all over the country and they can be extremely dangerous and destructive. Each year, more than 1,000 tornadoes hit the U.S., many accompanying hurricanes, and unfortunately, your pets aren’t exempt from the danger.
To help keep your pet safe, we are sharing a few safety ideas you can consider following to help be better prepared before, during, and after a tornado.
There are a few things you may want to consider addressing now, before a tornado warning ever surfaces, to make sure you’re prepared when it does.
First, double check that your pet has both an ID tag and a microchip. This will ensure he or she can find their way back to you if they were to get lost after a tornado. The ID tag and microchip need to be kept updated with your current address and phone number. It’s also important to make sure your pet’s collar fits well and is secure. If the collar does come off, that’s what the microchip is for.
Next, look around in your home and find a safe space where you can take cover with your pet. This could be your basement, a windowless bathroom, or a closet — any room on the lowest floor of your home that doesn’t have any windows. Your dog or cat might be scared if you suddenly bring them into a confined space during a storm, so do a trial run every couple of months to get them used to the location.
You may also want to consider creating a kit for these types of emergencies. You can place the kit it in your safe space in case you pet needs something during a bad storm. This kit should at least include:
- Bottled water
- Your pet’s food (a one to two-week supply)
- An extra collar and leash
- Cat litter and a pan
- A blanket/towel
- Extra medications
- First aid supplies
- Your pet’s vaccination records
- A list of any medications your pet takes regularly
- Your veterinarian’s contact info
- A photo of your pet in case you get separated
When you’re gathering your pet’s vaccination records, check and make sure they’re up-to-date on all vaccinations. Most evacuation shelters that allow pets require the animals to be updated on their vaccinations.
Finally, the last thing you should consider doing, is to speak with everyone in your family and create a plan of action that includes instructions on what to do if your pet escapes during or after a tornado. Once everyone is on the same page, you’ll be prepared when storm season comes around.
There’s a difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. A tornado watch means there’s a good chance a tornado could form. A tornado warning means a tornado has been spotted. If your area is under a tornado watch, go ahead and bring your pets inside and keep them close to you.
If the watch is upgraded to a tornado warning, proceed immediately with your family and pets to your safe location. Put your dog on a leash and/or your cat in its crate and bring them with you. Remember, consider rehearsing this ahead of time so your pet hopefully won’t be as frightened when it’s time to take cover during an active storm.
During this time, try your best to stay calm so your animals won’t pick up on your fear and can better remain calm as well.
When the tornado is gone, take your time as you come out of your safe room.
Don’t let your cat out of its crate or your dog off the leash until you’re sure the storm is over. Even then, your pet could still be scared and try to escape — and there are all kinds of potential hazards after a bad storm, like downed electrical lines or shattered glass. Keep your dog or cat nearby until you are certain it is safe to let them go and to be sure that they are calm and unharmed.
If your pet does happen to get loose, check with your neighbors, your local Humane Society, or animal shelter to see if you can find them. Tornadoes are a very real danger to humans and pets alike.
Looking for more ways to prepare for an emergency? Check out our tips for fire safety, or consider investing in a pet insurance policy to keep your pets safe in the event of an emergency.
Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.