I write a weekly Pet Column for my local newspaper, The Meridian Star. Due to the devastating storms that recently swept through the South, this week I decided to cover a more serious topic: Protecting your pets from severe weather.
THE MERIDIAN STAR
Severe Weather: Pet Edition
By: Ashley Owen Hill, guest columnist
This spring, severe weather has swept across the South, with devastating and deadly effects. As we try to prepare by protecting ourselves and our homes, what about our pets? Are you taking all of the necessary measures to ensure their safety?
Following natural disasters, the number of reported missing pets rises dramatically. Because severe weather can strike with little warning and limited time to prepare, it’s important to take some necessary precautions for your pets long before a storm ever hits.
First, you must ensure that your pet is wearing a well-fitting collar, complete with rabies and ID tags, at all times. If your pet goes missing, how will he get home if no one knows where he belongs? A secure collar should fit snugly around your pet’s neck, with just enough room to put 2 of your fingers underneath. ID tags should be attached to the collar, displaying your name, address, and contact phone number.
While collars and pet tags are essential, these items can easily slip off, especially during chaotic weather. Therefore, microchipping is the best option to fully ensure your pet’s safety. Microchipping involves a quick, painless, and inexpensive procedure that can save your pet’s life. Your vet will insert a small, electronic microchip, about the size of a grain of rice, under your pet’s skin. The chip is injected using a hypodermic needle, so it’s no more painful than a routine vaccination or injection.
If your pet goes missing at any time, he can be easily reunited with your family by way of the microchip. Each microchip contains an ID number, registered to the owner of the pet, which is activated when a microchip scanner passes over the area. Vet’s offices and shelters immediately scan found pets for a microchip to identify and contact the owners. Talk with your vet about microchipping your pets.
So what should you do when a storm hits? Bad weather can leave pets in a state of terror. Loud sounds, such as thunder and lightning, not only produce fear and anxiety in our pets, but may also cause them to run away.
If you evacuate, please take your pets with you! They are members of the family, and they depend on you for protection. Leaving them behind will render them terrified and helpless, with limited chance of survival. If you cannot take pets with you, board them in a safe facility like Lucky Dog Retreat!
If you choose to ride out the storm in your home, please bring all pets inside and place them in a safe and secure location. Would you leave your children outside during a severe thunderstorm or tornado? Please don’t make your pets endure the weather without you.
Following a storm, check your property for any debris that may be harmful to your pet. Also, check your fencing to ensure that no damage has occurred that could allow your pets to escape.
Severe weather has been responsible for the deaths of so many beloved family pets. Please don’t let your pet become another statistic.
Ashley Owen Hill is the owner of Lucky Dog Retreat, 8659 Hillview Dr, Meridian. Email her at Ashley@luckydogretreatmeridian.com. Follow her blog at www.luckydogrescueblog.blogspot.com or www.facebook.com/luckydogrescueblog.