Tips for protecting your pets before, during and after a storm

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COLUMBIA - When it comes to severe weather, safety is everyone’s number one concern.  For those with a pet at home, there is an extra worry – How do we keep our pets safe and calm during storms?  Here is a short guide to help better prepare your pet before, during, and after severe weather strikes.
 
BEFORE THE STORM
 
While practicing your severe weather safety plan, make sure you time out bringing your pet along with you.  Add their things to your safety kit as well:

    •    Bottled water and a bowl
    •    A leash or crate
    •    A day or two of food
    •    Litter boxes or doggy bags
    •    A toy or comfort item
    •    Medications and medical records
 
Bring outside pets indoors. Doghouses are not a proper shelter from severe winds and hail, and animals left chained up or fenced in can be vulnerable to lightning strikes.

If you are traveling with your pet, know what hotels are pet friendly on your route in case you need to take shelter.

If severe weather strikes while you are at work or away from home, make sure a neighbor or friend has access to your home and can get your pet to shelter safely. If not, keep your pet in a hard-sided crate on days when severe weather is expected. Not only can the dark help to comfort them, the enclosed sides can help protect them from flying debris.
 
DURING THE STORM
 
Remember that your behavior directly affects how your pet reacts to storms. Remain calm and avoid over comforting or coddling them. Distract them with games and tricks and reward them with treats. Thundershirts and soothing music may work for some pets as well.


AFTER THE STORM

After storms pass double check for holes in fences and check your yard for any type of debris that could hurt your pet's paws or that they could choke on.

The MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do when it comes to preparing your pet for severe weather is to make sure they are microchipped or tattooed. At the very least have a collar and nametag and make sure that information is current.

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