Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy and your dog: Helping your pet through a storm

Back in June when hurricane season started I wrote a post about preparing your pet for the season.

Sandy is now bearing down on the northeast, and weather reports say people as far away as Chicago will eventually feel the storm's effects. So I wanted to push this post up again, and highlight some points that might help people keep their pets safe during and after the hurricane.


Gather the following:
1) Your paperwork
2) Enough food to last a week
3) Travel dishes. If necessary, whatever you need to serve canned food.
4)Water. The rule for humans is one gallon per person, per day. How much does your pet drink? Maybe not that much, so maybe half a gallon per pet, per day.
5) Treats. Your pet is as nervous as you, if not more. Treats are a welcome distraction, and bring a touch of the familiar.
6)A favorite toy. Does the same as the treats.
7) Favorite blanket, pillow, towel, bed, etc.
8) Puppy pads, litter or newspaper -- because walking the dog may not always be possible.
9)Bags, paper towels, etc. for clean up.
10) Whatever medications you may need, and first aid stuff too.
11) Crate, cage, leash or whatever you use to transport the pet in the event you have to go.

Get your home and yard pet-storm ready. You board up the windows (don't duct tape the windows, it does nothing), bring in the patio furniture, trim the trees, clean the gutters, etc. Also, cover pools, turn over any containers that may get filled up with water (bird baths, buckets, planters, plastic pools). Bring outdoor pet food/drink containers in, and the dog house too if you can. You don't want dogs to drink the water when the storm is over. And this water will breed mosquitoes and other bugs in the days to come. It may also harbor bacteria that will make them sick. Rain water isn't the real concern here though, so much as flood water.


Stay in your safe havens. These are places without windows, preferably. Also avoid turning electronics on if you can. And make sure there is something in that safe haven that comforts the pet -- a toy, a blanket, a bed, etc.

Mind your children. Know how to calm your pet if they start to get nervous, or worse, freak out. If you have a pet who is nervous or upset from the storm, they may not have as much patience for a rambunctious child. They have to know that the pet needs to be left alone, or treated gently at the very least.

Keep them distracted. Just as your child will need some distractions during the storm, so will your pet. Toys are good for that.

Keep Calm. Pets sense your stress, your fear. By keeping calm, you help them keep calm. 


Do NOT give your pet tap water. Even if your home has water, it may need to be boiled before its drinkable. Don't use that water for drinking or bathing until you know it's safe.

Do NOT let your pet out of the house unsupervised. Even if a quick glance of your backyard shows no major issues, it's not safe to let your pet out until you know there's no place they can get hurt. What about downed power lines, exposed cables, pieces of wood, metal, shingle, glass that came off something during the storm that ended up in your yard? Are there any places where the pet might take a lap of water? Any bedding, dishes, or other pet items that came in contact with any flood water needs to be thrown out. Don't let the pet touch it. 

Avoid  dog parks. Your pet's favorite park may be a hazard after a storm for a few days. Bugs, puddles, fallen tree limbs. Give it a while before you take your pet to an off-leash park, or at least make sure it's cleaned up first.

More tips can be found at the National Hurricane Center website, and the ASPCA website.

 From all of us at Life with Beagle, to everyone in the path of Hurricane Sandy: Stay safe. It will be over before you know it.

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