June is National Pet Preparedness Month and we know you can’t be too ready when it comes to getting your pet for summer storms. Just ask the 90,000 people and pet victims of the Fort McMurray fire in Canada. Leaving with what they could carry, they weren’t sure they would be able to take their beloved pets on the rescue flights.
Lucky for them, airlines made an exception, allowing people and their beloved hedgehogs, turtles, cats, and dogs travel in style in the passenger cabin. It wasn’t ideal but it kept everyone safe.
Not every story has a happy ending like Fort McMurray. In fact, many times pets and pet parents are separated, some never to be reunited. It breaks my heart. As we prepare for summer storms, let’s look at ways to keep pets safe and close.
Tips for Preparing Your Pet for Summer Storms
- Pet ID tags. You take your driver’s license and other identification with you in case of disaster so it should be no different for your pets. Local pet stores offer pet ID tag services or machines where you can make a tag. Include the pet’s name and your phone number. In case they get lost or separated in a summer storm, you can be contacted to rescue them.
- Rescue Alert Sticker. The ASPCA and pet stores offer stickers you can place on the front of your home alerting emergency workers that there are pets to be saved in the event of an emergency. Include your pet’s name and type (dog, cat, bird, etc.) so they know who to rescue.
- Safe Haven. My heart always breaks after disasters when people tell stories of losing their pets. To avoid this heartbreak, plan ahead. Know where you can take your pets in the event of a summer storm or other disaster. Veterinarians, boarding kennels, and animal shelters may offer emergency options.
- Kennel Ready. While you might be able to take your pet to a hotel, motel, or other evacuation site, you will likely need to have them in a kennel or crate. Pets, just like people, may not be as friendly in a stressful situation. Their kennel is a safe and familiar place for them to relax and it may be a requirement at the evacuation site.
- Human Preparedness. Even if you’re not being evacuated, have your home prepared. Pets, especially dogs and cats, sense when we’re stressed out and may act different than normal. Help them (and you) feel better when you have flashlights, batteries, generator, bottled water, and first aid kits for humans and pets on hand for when the lights go out.
- Natural pet remedies. There’s only so much you can do to prepare for summer storms. We can’t control thunder that makes Fido jump in your lap or hide in the shower. Believe me, I understand. My 100 lb. Labrador retriever would claw the carpet at the first sign of high winds. To combat this behavior and his stress, I used remedies like flower essences that were recommended by the folks at our natural foods store.
As pet parents we try to protect our furry and not-so-furry friends from being stressed or scared but there are times when we can’t control what’s happening. We may not be as lucky as the McMurray families when it comes to being rescued. That’s when it pays to be prepared for summer storms by stocking up on emergency essentials and having an evacuation plan. You can never be too safe when it comes to your pets.
Anne McAuley Lopez is a Mesa, Arizona based wife, stepmom, dog lover, and professional blogger.