Today’s Solutions: November 30, 2022

Having a pet is a rewarding experience but comes with plenty of new and perhaps unfamiliar responsibilities. For instance, figuring out how to handle extreme weather and natural disasters (which are increasing in frequency) can be particularly challenging.

Here are some tips to help you and your pet tackle emergencies.

Create a plan

Being prepared takes some of the panic away when you find yourself suddenly dealing with a natural disaster. Make sure that your home is stocked with supplies needed to shelter in case you cannot leave your home. On the flip side, make sure you select a pet-friendly destination if the emergency requires you to evacuate. For backup locations, making a list of pet-friendly hotels or shelters will save you time and stress.

Prepare an emergency bag

Keep a pet kit stocked with everything you might need in an emergency so that you can act quickly if needed. Choose a bag that is easy to carry, keep it somewhere where anyone in your family can locate it, and make sure to label it clearly.

Experts recommend packing a pet first aid kit, enough food, and bottled water for a week, up-to-date medications, feeding and cleaning supplies, copies of medical records, an extra collar and leash, recent photos of your pet, and a comforting toy. Asking your vet for anti-anxiety medicine may also come in handy.

Microchip your pet

If you haven’t already, make sure to microchip your pet. Disasters and emergencies can be overwhelming for your pet, and they may run away. Having a microchip will make it much easier for you and your pet to reunite. Microchips aren’t tracking devices, but they contain ID numbers so that if your pet is found without a collar, a vet or shelter can scan them for identification and obtain your contact information.

Once your pet is microchipped, make sure your animal is registered with a national pet recovery database.

Foster crate acceptance

Emergencies may mean that your pet will need to spend long amounts of time in a crate or kennel for their safety. By making sure your pet is accustomed to being in their carrier, you can make this experience far more tolerable for them.

Try to keep your pet in its kennel overnight when the dog is sleeping in a familiar place. You can also associate the kennel with your pet’s favorite treats or make it comfy with a bed or blanket provided that your pet doesn’t chew or soil it.

Nurture a trusting relationship

Your pet will cope much better in stressful situations if you ensure they are well socialized. Try not to scold or punish your pet so that they know that you are their “safe person.” If your pet suffers from separation anxiety, work with your vet and a behaviorist so that you can learn how to cope with separation distress.

Secure your home

If the emergency requires you to stay in your home, make sure your pet is not able to accidentally escape. Lock all pet doors and monitor your pet closely, as noises and other sensory aspects of a natural disaster can disorient and overwhelm your pet.

Be careful after the all-clear

Even once the disaster is over, it’s important to keep an eye on your pet as they roam free again. Dangerous debris and other damage may confuse or harm your pet.

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