This time of year, late spring and early summer, is a time when the Midwestern United States sees a rise in tornadoes. This year tornadoes seem to be particularly active and there are many lists out there on how to stay safe. However, a majority of these lists are focused on people and don’t take pets into account. Below is a list of tips on keeping your pet safe before, during, and after a tornado.
Tip 1: Keep Your Pet Indoors
A good rule of thumb to follow is that if it’s not safe for you outside it’s also not safe for your pet. Anytime a storm is nearby all pets should be brought indoors. Even if it’s just a warning and the weather looks clear as day, it’s better to bring your pet inside just in case. So, the moment your area is on tornado watch, find your pet and bring them indoors. Never leave your pet tied up outside.
Tip 2: Find A Tornado Emergency Space For Your Pet
When preparing an emergency space, make sure it can accommodate your entire family and pets. A space near the ground floor and with no windows is recommended. Keep crates or carriers in this emergency space so your pet has a place to feel safe. Pets often feel a storm coming along and get scared. A crate or a carrier gives scared pets a place to hide. Get your pet familiar with the emergency space so it’s easier to bring them there during a tornado.
Tip 3: Emergency Pet Supplies
An emergency pet supply kit is necessary in case your family needs to evacuate your home. Additionally, the emergency space needs to have emergency pet supplies too. The emergency pet supply kit should include the basics of food and water along with sanitation items like a litter box or puppy pads. Designate a spot in the emergency space for pets to use as place to go pee and poop. The kit should have plastic poop bags on hand to easily dispose of the poop. Keep this emergency kit in a place where it’s easy to find and grab if you need to evacuate.
Tip 4: Proper Identification
A pet should always have the proper identification, even when no storms are coming. Pet owners have the option to get their pets a collar with a tag or a microchip. If you get your pet a tag make sure they have their collars on at all times, especially during the tornado. When tornado season comes around it is a good time to double check that all information on the ID tag or microchip are up-to-date. This is essential because sometimes pets get lost during tornadoes and up-to-date information increases your chances of getting your pet returned to you after the storm.
Tip 5: Practice Tornado Safety Plan
When there is a tornado safety plan it helps keep every member of your family safe, including your pet. In order to be more efficient during a tornado, the entire family needs to practice the safety plan together. This plan should be practiced every few months. Practicing the safety plan with your pet helps them stay calm during an actual emergency. If your plan is to evacuate to the shelter it is a good idea to train your pet to head straight there. During this practice time you can find any distractions that hinder the safety plan and get rid of them. Note the places your pet likes to hide when they’re are scared. This allows you to find your pet a lot more easily during a tornado emergency. Each time you practice your plan, double check that all materials and necessary paperwork are in good conditions and up-to-date.
Tip 6: Prepare a Shelter Kit
While the shelter kit sounds quite similar to the emergency pet supplies kit, it actually includes much more. The emergency pet supplies provides the pet with food, water, and a place to go to the bathroom. The shelter kit provides other essentials including a pet first-aid kit, a harness or leash, and copies of your pet’s paperwork.These two kits go hand in hand and should be kept in the same place when needed for an emergency.
Tip 7: Keep Your Pet on a Leash
When evacuating your home life will be easier with your pet on a leash or in a carrier. This way if your pet gets scared you have them attached to you in some way. Even after a tornado has passed all pets should be secured at all times. The aftermath of a tornado can be equally dangerous for your pet. Familiar areas that received damage during the tornado will look different to your pet and it’s easy for them to get lost if they’re not on a leash. All pets need to be in secure areas until tornado damage is fully assessed.
Tip 8: Keep Pets From Damaged Areas
Tornadoes cause a lot of damage wherever they touch down. All damage from a tornado should be assessed before even bringing your pets outside. There is the possibility that power lines were brought down by the tornado and those are severely dangerous for you and your pets. Tornadoes have the ability to carry items with them. So, dangerous items might be littered around damaged areas that will cause great harm to your pet. The best way to keep your pet safe after a tornado is to keep the inside. If you must take them outside it’s best to find a non-damaged area where they can walk around while on a leash.
Tip 9: Have a Recent Picture of Your Pet
In the unfortunate event that your pet escapes or gets lost during the tornado a recent picture would be quite helpful. It’s easy to keep recent pictures on your cellphone but a physical copy helps in case your phone’s battery dies. These pictures will help you find your pet faster if they get lost during or after a tornado. It also makes it easier to create lost pet flyers. Keep a physical copy of your pet’s picture with the shelter kit and emergency pet supplies.
Tip 10: Know Your Local
Sometimes pets get lost, especially when they’re scared during a storm like a tornado. It is always good to be prepared for the worst case scenario. That’s why knowing your local shelters will be a huge asset if your pet gets lost during a tornado. Any strays wandering around after a tornado are taken to the local animal shelters by animal control. There is a chance your pet lost their collar during the tornado so a recent picture of them really comes in handy at this time. It’s also a good idea to keep the number of your local animal shelter in your phone so you can call them for updates and information.