Tornado Pet Safety

Mar 9, 2019

This is my safe place!
Credit Muffet (liz west) [Flickr]

If the only time you put your pet in a carrier is when you take it to the veterinarian's office, it may not seem like a safe place to your furry friend.  But if you let your pet become accustomed to spending time in the carrier occasionally, even without the door closed, it can become a cozy spot where your best friend can be - and feel - safe!

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Unfortunately, it’s not surprising to hear of a tornado in Alabama, but the one that hit Lee County last weekend was extremely large and deadly, killing at least 23 people. It is unknown how many animals were lost in that ferocious storm.

There is a lot of good advice available to help you prepare for a hurricane. Most recommendations include not waiting until the last minute to evacuate – and if you do evacuate, do not leave your pets behind to fend for themselves.

But a tornado? Often there’s not much advance notice about a tornado. The residents of Lee County had, at best, about 15 minutes warning. What can you do to protect your pet with only minutes to prepare? Most of the ways to keep your pet as safe as possible in a tornado involve planning long before bad weather threatens.

Begin by making sure your animal has an ID tag and a microchip. When you register your information for the microchip, list your mobile phone number, and perhaps a number for a close friend or relative.

During the storm, keep small pets indoors, with you, in a place that is on a lower level, near the center of your residence, and not near any windows. Practice taking them to your “safe” spot, so the process won’t be unfamiliar to them. They may be frightened during a bad storm, but if you periodically leash your dog or crate your cat and take them to wherever you plan to go during a storm, they will be less likely to hide from you or try to run away in a real emergency.

Keep a leash or carrier handy, so you can just grab and go when time is short. And consider stocking your “safe room” with bottled water, for both you and your best friend.

Finally, after the storm passes, make sure all is okay before letting your pet run loose. There may be debris around your home or downed power lines.

Being prepared for the storm, and dealing with the aftermath, is all a part of keeping your furry buddy safe no matter what blows your way, when you’re speaking of pets.

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