Large parts of the USA anticipate summer with a mix of dread and joy. Summer is great, but would be better without tornadoes and hurricanes. Every year pets are separated from their humans during difficult weather. Some come back, other families keep searching for years with no luck.
One example is the Bring Hanah Home movement who has searched for a a dog ripped from her human’s arms in the Joplin tornado three years ago. Hanah has been spotted after the tornado, but despite offering large rewards she still hasn’t been found.
Tornadoes are scary because they arrive so quickly. Hurricanes usually give warning and time to prepare or leave the area. When it comes to weather, there are never any guarantees, but there are things to do that will improve the chances of getting out of severe weather unscathed.
Prepare for the pets
Make a pet-friendly emergency plan. Know not just where the nearest storm shelter is, but where the nearest pet-friendly storm shelter is. Also, put together a disaster kit with basic pet supplies and medications. It should contain enough to get by for three days.
If you have to go to the storm shelter, bringing the pet’s favorite treats, toys, and bedding can help ease some of the stress.
Know where you have your carrier
Smaller animals – particularly cats – have an eerie ability to disappear when you need to find them. Keep your carrier available and easy to reach. Put the pets in the carrier when the weather starts to look bad. It’s better to have them in the carrier and not have to go than to rush around the house looking for them.
It’s a good idea to take dogs to the storm shelter on a regular basis. If they’re used to the area and environment they won’t be so stressed when you have to be there.
Despite our best intentions, pets often get separated from their owners in emergency situations. Make sure they wear a collar or harness with their rabies tag and identifying information. Also, make sure that your pets are microchipped. It is a quick and easy procedure that can make the difference between going home or ending up in a county shelter where you might not find them.