Angie's List: How can I prepare my pet for spring storms?
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, especially where spring storms are concerned. As you gear up your house for the season, consider these tips to ensure that your furry friends can weather any stress that comes their way.
Create a pleasant place for your pet
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 him 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 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 your pet can’t lose; tiny and inexpensive, microchips are surgically placed under the skin to help vet offices, animal control and shelters reunite the two of you if Fido breaks through the screen door. 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 him burn off that nervous energy, calm him 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.
Be prepared for an emergency
Depending on where you live, you may need to have a plan for an evacuation or shelter-in-place. FEMA recommends you have your pet’s food, water, 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.
Diana Crandall is a reporter for Angie’s List, a trusted provider of local consumer reviews and an online marketplace of services from top-rated providers. Visit AngiesList.com.