BaxterBoo Blog
April 11, 2019

How To Protect Your Pets During a Tornado

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Tornado season is upon us. Each year, more than 1,000 tornadoes touch down in the United States. Stormy weather is often quite scary for dogs and cats, so you need to have a plan in place in case the unthinkable happens. Use these tips to help you protect your furry family members this tornado season.


1. Practice Your Pet-Friendly Tornado Safety Plan

One of the biggest reasons that people end up losing their pets during tornadoes is because they failed to create a safety plan before tornado season. Before inclement weather hits, create a tornado safety plan for your family and your pets. Start by identifying the safest interior room of your home. If possible, this will be a basement, but if you don't have a basement, consider a bathroom or another room that is as far into the interior of your home as possible. Pet-proof this room by removing anything that could be dangerous or poisonous to your cats or dogs and practice getting to the area as quickly as possible. Remember, pets often hide when they are scared, so figure out which areas your fur babies are most likely to hide in and practice getting them out of their hiding spaces as quickly as possible. Don't forget to keep a pet preparedness kit near your safe room. Include a crate, food and water, any medications, and first aid supplies. When seeking out a crate, ensure it is a metal variety like the Easy Crate Dog Crate, which can stand up to harsh weather better than cloth variety can.


2. Ensure Your Pets Have Proper Identification

No matter how well you prepare, the unexpected can always happen. If your pet does manage to escape during a tornado, you are more likely to find him if he has proper identification. If you haven't already, visit your veterinarian and ask him or her to put a microchip into your pet. This way, if your dog or cat becomes lost during inclement weather, the person who finds him can have him scanned. The microchip will provide your name, address, and phone number so that you can be reunited with your animal. If your pet is already microchipped, ensure you keep information updated if you move or change your phone number. In addition to a microchip, your dogs and cats should be wearing identification tags. ID tags are available in a range of shapes, sizes, and colors to fit your needs and are large enough to include your pet's name and your contact information. If your dog or cat has health problems, you may also want to engrave this information on a separate tag.


3. Keep Recent Photos of Your Pets

If your pet does get lost during a tornado warning, it will be easier to find him if you have recent pictures. Take photographs of your pet often and keep some on your phone. It is also a good idea to print some out and keep them in your wallet and in your emergency preparedness kit. If you have dogs or cats that often get haircuts and look differently when groomed, it is important to keep pictures of them with both short and long hair. Recent photographs of your pet make it easier to print flyers and ask neighbors if they've seen your fur babies.


4. Create a List of Emergency Numbers

Knowing where to start looking if your pet does become lost during a tornado is important. In addition to having your primary veterinarian's contact information, it is a good idea to create a list of neighbors' phone numbers, as well as numbers for other local veterinarians, animal rescues and shelters, and so on. This will be especially helpful if there is tornado damage that prevents you from visiting shelters in person to look for your pets. You may also consider installing yard signs and adding stickers to your windows or in your wallet that shows rescue workers that there are pets living in the home. The signage allows you to list how many animals live in the home, so rescue workers know how many to look for.


5. Know When To Take Cover

One of the most important ways to protect both yourself and your pets is to understand when you should be taking cover. If you don't already know what the basic storm terminology means, it is a good idea to learn them. If your local meteorologist is calling for a severe thunderstorm or tornado watch, that means the weather has the right conditions to create one of these types of inclement weather, but they may not occur. You can go about your regular activity but should keep a close eye on the weather. After a watch appears, you may notice a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning appearing on your local weather channel. When this happens, the weather has already been detected. You should take cover in your safe room and ensure your pets are well-protected. Avoid windows and doors.


6. Update Your Go Bag Regularly

Keeping your pet prepared for tornadoes means ensuring your pet's go back is up to date. In addition to a properly sized crate, you should have a first aid kit with pet-safe medications, antibiotic ointments, and bandages. Disposable bowls and spoons make it easier to serve food and water, and favorite toys, blankets and comfort treats will help to keep your pet calm. Finally, include a leash and muzzle, waste disposal bags, and a copy of your pet's shot records. If your pet's immunizations are not up to date, it is vital to update them now.

Once a tornado warning occurs, you have an average of 13 minutes to get yourself, your family, and your pets to safety. By keeping these six tips in mind and ensuring you are as well-prepared as possible prior to tornado season starting, you are more likely to keep your pets safe, happy, and healthy. If you are unsure of what you need to ensure your pets' safety, speak with your veterinarian or your local humane society for more information about tornado preparedness for your furry friends.

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This entry was posted by Rachel.

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