Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Tornado Preparations for Your Dog and Cat!

Credit: Flickr Creative Commons, NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) NOAA Photo Library

WOOF! As we saw a few weeks ago in Nashville, and more recently in Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi, the tornado season has begun and has already caused considerable damage to homes, people, and pets. Paws, several humans and pets were displaced during the horrible storms. Barkingly, there is a pawsome, yet somewhat sad, story about a dog who barked so much before the storm hit that he drove his human crazy! Barkingly, he saved his human family while losing his own life! Arf.

Barks, where we live, tornadoes are not that common. Paws, we might see one a year pawssibly two, but maybe not even that! Barks! The thunderstorms are severe and horrible. If Dad is around I like to curl up with him on the couch and wait it out or get in my crate with Mr. Skunky or Mr. Bear and my blankies and pillows and hide! WOOF! WOOF! Samson sometimes waits it out on Dad’s worktable. Other times, he dashes to the basement as fast as his paws will take him.

Barkingly, I have lived here long enough to know though, be prepared. You never know what will happen and it never hurts to be prepared. The storms can come up fast leaving no time to do anything but run for shelter! Paws, too often, pets are left behind when a storm comes up as their humans are unprepared. No pets should be left behind. Barks, here are a few ideas to help you prepare:

  • Know the difference between a “Tornado Watch” and a “Tornado Warning!”
Tornado Watch:” This is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and close to the watch area. Their size can vary depending on the weather situation. They are usually issued for a duration of 4 to 8 hours. They normally are issued well in advance of the actual occurrence of severe weather. During the watch, humans should review tornado safety rules and be prepared to move a place of safety if threatening weather approaches. (https://w1.weather.gov/glossary)
Tornado Warning:” This is issued when a tornado is indicated by the WSR-88D radar or sighted by spotters; therefore, people in the affected area should seek safe shelter immediately. They can be issued without a Tornado Watch being already in effect. They are usually issued for a duration of around 30 minutes. (https://w1.weather.gov/glossary).
  • Make certain your dog and cat have valid ID collars and are microchipped. We like to suggest humans use both methods of identification as they are both handy. My human had a visitor in our garage once - a huge Chocolate Labrador Retriever. He was hot, thirsty, and presented a huge problem. No ID. Barks, Dad had to make certain he and I did not come in contact even though it was likely he had his shots and pawssibly would not be a problem. But, why invite one?! An ID collar would have told us he was a neighbor and made finding his home and taking care of him much easier. Unfortunately, Dad did not have a vehicle that day to take him to the Veterinarian to have the microchip checked.
  • When a Tornado Watch is issued, keep your small animals like dogs inside the house! This will make it easy to control them should a tornado strike.
  • For cats, since I know how my cat brother can be, when the alert is issued, move them into their crate and place them in a safe place like a basement, interior room, a windowless bathroom or even a closet. Paws, if pawssible, keep the cat in the same room where you will go should there be a tornado outbreak. This will eliminate your searching for your cat in a storm-related emergency.
  • Before a Tornado Alert is issued, practice moving your pets to safety. Repeated practice monthly or every few weeks will make it much easier to get your dog and pawssibly your cat to cooperate in an emergency. Barking, often if a Tornado strikes and you have to run for cover, your pets will notice your panic and add to their own stress.
  • In the age of cell phones, everyone has photos of the pets to show everyone in the universe. I know my proud human parents have enough photos to create a 1,000 page or more photo album. Pawlease make sure you have great photos of your pet's handy which clearly show their face and any identifying marks which would be useful in finding them.
  • Paws, program the phone numbers of any local animal shelters and rescues in your phone. Often, if you adopted your pet from a rescue, the microchip will indicate it, so have their number too. 
Bark! Bark! When the storm is passed and you can safely leave your safe place, begin searching for your pets immediately. Contact local shelters and rescues. Barkingly, be sure to place notices on any social media such as Facebook and NextDoor concerning your lost pet. Contact neighbors and post flyers around your neighborhood about your lost pet!

Tornado Preparations for Your Dog and Cat!

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