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Keep Your Dog Safe During Hurricanes and Tornadoes

dog safety hurricanes and tornadoes
Last week's Oklahoma tornado left countless pets lost and injured. As the pet agencies do their best to help, the main priority now is to reunite lost pets with their owners.

When talking storms, the advice from the ASPCA cannot be stressed enough: “If you are not safe, neither is your pet.”
Since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted this past week that this year's hurricane season will be "somewhere between active and extremely active, with between 13 and 20 named storms", we must remember that our pets need to be included in our safety and evacuation plans.
Here are 10 must-read tips to keep your dog safe during hurricanes and tornadoes from the ASPCA:

Take your pets in and keep them inside. While there is no reason that a pet should live outside, at the first sign of an imminent storm, pets need to be secured inside the house ASAP. A doghouse will NOT provide any protection. If you can’t be outside neither can your pet!
Do NOT leave your pets behind ever. If the situation calls for you to evacuate your home, your pet is not safe there either. Do not rely on thinking animal instinct will protect them.
Call ahead to shelters. If you must escape and go to a shelter, remember that not every Red Cross shelter accepts animals. The time to search for shelters that accept pets is now – before you must leave. Local vets and shelters might know about nearby shelters that accept pets. You can also call nearby hotels and motels who may allowed pets. Do NOT leave your pets behind! 
Lean on friends and family. Friends and relatives who are outside your immediate area might be willing to take in your pet(s). Ask early on when first making your emergency plans.
Create an emergency supply and travel kit. As you pack your own “Go Bag,” make one for your pet with all the necessary items he might need over a period of days. Click here to see exactly what items should be in it.
Select a designated temporary caregiver. No one wants to think about this, but there is always a chance that you might not be able to go back to your home for a while. By predetermining a person who will take your pet in for a lengthy period of time, it not only provides protection for your beloved pet, but also gives you peace of mind that you pet will be taken care of properly.
Secure proper identification for your pet. The ASPCA specifically advises the following: “Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification. Your pet’s ID tag should contain his name, telephone number, and any urgent medical needs. Be sure to write your pet’s name, your name and contact information on your pet’s carrier.”
Visually sum up your house and predetermine the safest points in your home. Locate the rooms that are highest if flooding is an issue. Make sure the room is window free to be safe from possible flying debris. Your best bet is to choose “easy-to-clean areas such as utility rooms, bathrooms, and basements as safe zones.”
Provide for sufficient and long-term water for your pet. Just like people, pets will need extra water in case of a prolonged power outage, so fill up bathtubs and sinks with water.
After the storm, do not let pets outside right away. Yes, they will have to relieve themselves after being holed up for hours on end, but check your yard and street for downed power wires, which may electrocute them. Do not let your pets out on their own; dogs should be on a leash and cats need to stay inside. The chances of outside hazards are too great in the days following a hurricane.
Image: Courtesy of American Red Cross

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