This guest post written by Phyllis Sollars, volunteer and foster for Last Day Dog Rescue and Public Protection coordinator, Emergency Preparedness and Response for DTE Energy.
The majority of us know what to do during a storm and how to stay safe; but what about our four-legged fur babies? With storm season on its way, we need to think of keeping them safe, too.
After working with dogs for five years as a volunteer and foster and working at DTE Energy coordinating our Public Protection efforts during storms, I’ve learned a thing or two about staying safe during severe weather and calming dogs during stressful events.
Below are some things that can help you keep your animals safe and comfortable the next time Mother Nature strikes. (Many of these tips can help with firework season, too!)
- Make sure your pet has some form of ID tag or microchip. Some storms can destroy or knock down fences, allowing pets to run away. Even if they’re not runners, loud noises can scare them and cause them to take shelter elsewhere. ID tags and microchips assure you can be contacted should they escape.
- Your pet’s behavior may change during a storm. Medications are available that can help reduce your pet’s anxiety. There are items available, like Thundershirts, that can help your animal feel more secure. You can also try distracting your pet by engaging them in any activity that captures their attention and distracts them from the loud noises that come with severe weather.
- Make sure your pet is indoors. Never leave them outside during a severe storm. Pets should be provided the same cover as humans during a storm. They’re also great companions during a storm.
- Drown out the noise of thunder and wind by running fans or playing calming music. There is an entire YouTube channel dedicated to this called, Relax My Dog.
- Keep a light on so they don’t notice the lightening.
- Create a safe space for your dog to go – whether it’s a crate, under the bed, the basement or a favorite hiding spot.
- Be aware of the surroundings. Make sure you check the yard before allowing your pet back outside. There could be downed lines, gaps in fences or other hazards. If you have debris in your yard, take your pet out on a leash until you know the area is safe.
- If your dog has extreme anxiety during storms, talk to your vet and/or a certified trainer. At Last Day Dog Rescue, we work with trainers, Mike Baughman and Chelsea Campbell from Beyond the Bark, who help us with some of our dogs that have high anxiety and other problems related to storms.