How to protect pets during a storm
SAN JUAN – With the imminent arrival of a hurricane, it is transcendental to include pets in an emergency plan and avoid repeating past calamities, such as in 2005 ,when Hurricane Katrina left more than 70,000 pets dead in the United States.
What should you avoid?
Meteorologist and environmentalist Susan Soltero, founder of Premium Healthy Pets, warned to avoid at all costs leaving a pet outside one’s home during the event, as inclement weather could put the animal’s life at risk.
“[It is important] not to leave pets outside because many of them, unbelievably, get strangled. Even when leashed, out of fear, they could end up strangled. This happens more often than we’d like to think,” Soltero said. “Pets deserve the same treatment as you.”
Prepare a safe space
If there is no need to seek refuge in a shelter, Carlos Rivera Casanova, a veterinarian at Manatí Veterinary Clinic, said the best alternative to keep pets safe and calm is in a room or place that is as quiet as possible and where there is a cage or bed where they feel comfortable.
Calm their anxiety
In the safe space, try to provide your pet with a blanket that it recognizes, preferably one that has your scent. This may help calm them. In addition, it is recommended to surround them with their favorite toys and to play soft music to help prevent the anxiety caused by thunder.
For mild anxiety, the veterinarian said over-the-counter medication may be used. Extreme cases require a vet’s opinion, thus he recommended having the emergency contacts on hand of clinics that will be open during the weather event.
Both the meteorologist and the veterinarian concurred in the importance of storing food and water for at least a week. Although the usual recommended period is three days, the potential interruption of potable water service should be considered. The amount will depend on the size of the pet.
Another aspect to consider when preparing supplies for a pet are chronic medical conditions, so it is of paramount importance to have it medication available.
Ready for a shelter
Recently, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said shelters prepared for citizens will also pets. As a sole requirement, he requested the animal be in a kennel, to protect the safety of other people and pets seeking refuge.
In case you require a shelter, it is important to remember that the care of the animal remains in the hands of its owner, so when staying in a government-provided space, take food for your pet, cleaning products and its documentation.
As a security measure, both in a shelter and at home, pets must be identified with a tag, as Rivera Casanova warned that when scared, they could try to escape. Another alternative is to use a microchip to facilitate its identification when found.
For more information, visit https://www.ready.gov/animals.