How to Keep Your Pets Safe During Hurricane

Hurricane season is once again upon us. Opening in August (typically) and ending just after Thanksgiving, one never knows which one will be the next Andrew, Katrina, Hugo, George, or even the most recent in North Carolina. In this season of hurricanes and tropical storms, it becomes increasingly important to ensure that not only are you ready to evacuate at a moment's notice but also to have your pet ready to go, as well. Hurricanes are usually very trackable and, unlike tornadoes, can be predicted long enough in advance for an area to brace for damage. This one advantage allows you to act as a responsible pet parent and prepare for the worst-case scenario which is a luxury, not all storms bring with them.

Dog owners face a number of challenges and frustrations just keeping their pet safe from the elements. When storms blow through an area, it can lead to even more damage, sometimes very costly in nature. However, if you take some time to prepare for storm conditions, it can save you a lot of stress and headaches when the time comes and you do face adverse weather conditions.

In the event of a major storm, and 'storm' here does not mean a passing thunderstorm but a population-threatening event, immediately put a leash on your dogs. Do not assume your pet will come when called in such a situation; when dogs get scared they hide, often times under a bed or in a closet. This makes it very tough to reach them in time when you need to be rushing out the door to save yourself, so ensure you have your pets in a position and place to get them out easily. Be prepared to take them to the vehicle with you should you need to make an immediate exit.

Do not leave your pets to fend for themselves even if you keep enough food and water at home. While you leave, your beloved pet is alone, frightened and unable to open doors or think beyond the moment of her terror. Hurricane Flood usually saw over three million pets and livestock lost to abandonment while their owners hurried off to a safe place and left their pets home alone. During Hurricane Andrew, a thousand pets were euthanized for lack of space and no one stepping forward in time to claim them. In the days that followed Hurricane Katrina, more than ten thousand pets were rescued from the floods and wreckage but few were claimed, leading to more euthanizing. A domesticated animal left on its own in the conditions that remain in the wake of a major storm, particularly a hurricane, usually do not survive.

Pets, especially dogs, need to see a demonstration of level-headedness, quiet strength and a peaceful demeanor during times of high and frightening action. When a pets' world starts to crumble, you are to be the solid rock to which they can cling for survival. In your absent the poor animal will have nothing on which to determine its security level. First and foremost, you are the anchor so do not panic, scream or freak out more than is absolutely necessary.

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