Keeping Your Animals Safe after a Storm
- If you leave town after a disaster, take your pets with you. Pets are unlikely to survive on their own.
- Make sure the storm has fully passed before going outside and assess damages before allowing children or animals out.
- In the first few days after the disaster, leash your pets when they go outside. Displaced objects and fallen trees can disorient pets and sharp debris could harm them.
- Always maintain close contact. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and your pet may become confused and lost. Also, snakes and other dangerous animals may be brought into the area with flood areas. Downed power lines are a hazard.
- Keep kids and animals away from hazards such as downed power lines and water that may be contaminated.
- The behavior of your pets may change after an emergency. Normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive. Watch animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard with access to shelter and water.
- Uncertainty and change in the environment affect animals, presenting new stresses and dangers. Your pet’s behavior may change after a crisis, becoming more aggressive or self-protective. Be sensitive to these changes and keep more room between them, other animals, children or strangers. Animals need comforting, too. Comfort your pet with kind words and lots of pats or hugs. If possible, provide a safe and quiet environment, even if it is not their own home.
“Hurricanes can be deadly situations for pets if they are separated from their families,” said Randy Collins, American Humane’s national director for emergency animal rescue services. “It is important that every parent and pet parent in the path of this destructive storm heed these lifesaving tips. We hope all of our friends in the Caribbean and the United States, both two- and four-legged alike, stay safe while riding out Hurricane Matthew.”
Tips for large animals:
If you have large animals such as horses, cattle, sheep, goats or pigs on your property, be sure to prepare before a disaster.
- Ensure all animals have some form of identification.
- Evacuate animals whenever possible. Map out primary and secondary routes in advance.
- Make available vehicles and trailers needed for transporting and supporting each type of animal. Also make available experienced handlers and drivers. Note: It is best to allow animals a chance to become accustomed to vehicular travel so they are less frightened and easier to move.
- Ensure destinations have food, water, veterinary care and handling equipment.
- If evacuation is not possible, animal owners must decide whether to move large animals to shelter or turn them outside.
Information provided by ready.gov and American Humane.