In all our efforts to prepare our homes for spring — clearing the gutters, inspecting the roof and trimming the trees — it’s easy to overlook the fact that our pets can use a little preparation, too.
We’re not talking about baths, we’re talking about dealing with spring storms.
While many of us find early season storms exciting, it can be difficult for many of our furry friends to weather storms without stress.
Here are some tactics to consider:
Create a safe place
You can’t control the forecast, but you can control the environment inside your home.
Draw your curtains and act calm when rain starts lashing the windows. If sound frightens your pet, consider windows or window treatments that help prevent noise. Severe weather is also less likely to damage thicker windows.
Inside the home, play calming sounds or music to relax your pet, but don’t turn up the volume too loud, as this can raise the anxiety in the room.
Keep your dog from becoming destructive by placing it in a comfortable crate. It’s also possible to convert any space you have — whether it’s under your stairs or in your mudroom — into a safe place for your animal during a storm. Fill these areas with comfort items like bedding, blankets and toys.
Get a microchip
If thunderclaps and lightning strikes send your dog or cat scrambling for an escape, a microchip is a worthy investment. Think of a microchip as a type of identification that your pet can’t lose. Tiny and inexpensive, microchips are surgically placed under the skin to help vet offices, animal control and shelters reunite pets with their owners. Additionally, there are several brands of smart collars on the market that can help you track and locate your pet if you become separated.
Provide a distraction
If it’s possible, keep your pet’s mind off what’s going on around them through a fun game, grooming or other positive activities. There are several benefits to this: You can help your pet burn off nervous energy, calm down in the moment and also create positive memories and feelings associated with storms.
Talk to your vet if these measures don’t work, or if you become worried about your animal’s safety during storms.
Depending on where you live, you may need to have a plan for an evacuation or shelter in place. FEMA recommends that you keep pet food, water, medicine, medical records and identification in a safe place. Also, make sure you have a place for your pet to go to the bathroom, and access to familiar items, like favorite stuffed chew toys.
If you live in an area where you might have to go to a shelter, make sure you have a safe place to put your pet ahead of any upcoming storms. FEMA notes that many shelters don’t allow pets, so it’s vital you figure out ahead of time where you’ll take your pet in case of an emergency.