Preparing for a hurricane is incredibly stressful. Depending on the size of your home and property, it can take days. But it’s important to remember that as physically exhausting and mentally taxing as it is, it is stressful for our pets as well. Domesticated animals are creatures of routine. When those routines are disrupted, even under the best of circumstances, pets can become anxious and agitated. Here is some helpful advice all pet owners living in hurricane-prone areas should seriously take into consideration post storm.
Surveying the Damage
After the storm has finally passed and you’ve assessed the obvious damage, survey your property for dangerous materials like sharp objects, rusted nails, splintered debris, broken glass and areas where pets may be able to squeeze through, under or around fences. Do not allow your pets to roam off leash until you’ve had a chance to do this. There could also be downed utility lines you didn’t notice right away, and you don’t want your pets coming into contact with them, either.
Torrential downpours and lashing winds can create a lack of familiar scents for animals. Combine that with disturbed terrain and obliterated landmarks and wildlife and pets can be a bit discombobulated after a hurricane. Besides the fact that there may now be dangerous pests like water moccasins creeping about your property, your pets could easily become disoriented if they're wandering unsupervised.
Speaking of water, drain all standing water from the exterior of your home as soon as possible. This includes puddles on tarps or anything else that can cup or hold water. In Florida, they’re already warning residents to perform this task, as officials expect a significant influx of mosquitoes within the next week or so in connection to Hurricane Irma. Make sure your pets are on heartworm medication or keep them indoors, if not. Also, do not allow pets to wade in or drink runoff or storm water! It could be full of harmful bacteria or chemicals.
Getting Back to Normal
Whether you’re returning home after an evacuation or you’ve ridden the storm out locally, try to ensure your pets get as much uninterrupted sleep/rest as possible to aid in their recovery. Travel, shelters, limited choices for relieving themselves under rough conditions and even the sound of the storm itself can be somewhat traumatic for our furry friends.
Final Post-Hurricane Thoughts
As difficult as it may be — depending on your circumstances — try and get your pets back into their daily routine as soon as is feasibly possible. This, and offering comfort/reassurance to your best buds will go a long way toward reducing their stress levels and getting them back to normal. Good Luck!