It’s been a rough winter so far in many parts of the country.
If you’re a pet owner, that means you’ll also need to keep your pets out of harm’s way.
Best Friends Animal Society, a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of cats and dogs by 2025, offers the following tips to keep your pet as safe as possible:
• Outside animals should be brought indoors unless evacuation is required.
• Do not wait to evacuate. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to get out with your pets.
• If evacuating, please bring your pets with you. If that is not possible, do not keep animals enclosed in a pen or crate and make sure to keep pets on the highest floor or point of your home.
• Make a plan of where to go with your pet(s). Identify pet-friendly emergency shelters that may be open in your area for temporary respite. There are also pet-friendly hotels that you may be able to locate online.
• Put together an emergency go-bag of all of your pets’ essential items, such as medications, food, bowls, leash, crate, toys, blankets, and identification tags. It’s also pertinent to have your animal’s vaccination and medical records handy, including their microchip number, together inside a waterproof, sealed bag. Keep the bag as close to the door so that if you need to evacuate immediately, you can grab your pet and the bag and leave.
• Identify a neighbor who has access to your home and can grab your pets and their go bag if you are not home during a flooding event.
• Close all windows and doors.
Additional Do’s and Dont’s:
• Do not attempt to walk through floodwater. As little as six inches of moving water can knock you and your pet down.
• Do not allow your pet to drink any floodwater. Floodwater is polluted with chemicals, sewage and other harmful debris and foreign materials that are harmful to your pet.
• Do not assume your pet can swim. Animals can panic if put in a situation that they are too stressed to handle.
• Do not drive through water or even over bridges that sit above fast-moving water, as they can collapse at a moment’s notice.
• Do dry off a pet as quickly as possible. Wetness can cause bacterial growth and inflammation on their skin.
Don’t have a pet? Now is the perfect time to adopt or foster a pet in need. Shelters across the country are at capacity due to less people choosing the adoption option. Every time you adopt, you are saving two lives: the life of the pet you are bringing home, as well as opening space for another homeless dog or cat to be taken in by shelters and rescue groups. To learn more, visit bestfriends.org.