Stormy weather: keeping pets safe

We tend to get storms in any season here in the UK. Storm warnings are more common over the winter months and can bring with them strong winds, rain storms and even snow, but we might also see storm warning in spring, autumn or even summer. All of these can have an impact on our pets, too.

What can you do to keep your pets safe when storms hit? Here’s our top tips:

 

Dogs

  • Keep an eye on the forecast. Stay ahead of the worst weather and take dogs for a walk in the calm before the storm. Two or three smaller walks are better than one long one in the pouring rain!
  • Use a reflective lead and collar. It can get pretty dark as the rainclouds start to form.
  • Keep your dog inside during the storm. If they’re getting restless why not play with their favourite toy or try teaching them a new trick.
  • Check your dog’s microchip details are up to date and they are wearing a collar with a tag in case they panic and escape.
  • Make sure your dog has a den so they can feel safe.
  • Close the windows and curtains.
  • If your dog is scared of loud noises or thunder consider playing music or put on the TV to drown out some of the noise.

 

Cats

  • Make sure they can easily get inside. If your cat likes to spend lots of time outside, make sure they can always get indoors if they need to so they don’t get caught out by a sudden downpour.
  • Make sure your cat’s microchip details are always up to date in case your cat panics during a storm and gets lost.
  • Keep your cat inside during the storm. Lock cat flaps and shut all the windows and doors. Make sure you have a litter tray available, even if your cat doesn’t usually use one.
  • Set up a safe area. Cats often feel secure high up on a shelf or cupboard so make sure they can get up and down easily and safely.
  • Keep cats away from windows. Consider closing the curtains especially if there is lightening.
  • If your cat is scared by the noise, play music or put the radio or TV on to drown out some of the noise.

 

Small pets

  • Keep them indoors. Bring small pets like rabbits and guinea pigs inside.
  • Keep them sheltered. If it isn’t possible to move your pets inside, move them to a sheltered area protected from the wind and rain or a car-free garage or shed.
  • Keep them off the ground. Hutches should be raised off the ground and have a sloped roof so water can drain away.
  • Close the curtains and windows if your pet is in the house.
  • Cover runs and hutches with thick blankets.
  • Give them extra bedding and places to hide such as cardboard boxes or tunnels.

 

What to do if you need to evacuate

It’s rare but in extreme weather you could have to leave your home for safety reasons. This can be a really distressing time for you and your pet. Here’s what you can do to make leaving as safe as possible for you both:

  • Put cats and small pets in secure carriers so you can evacuate them safely.
  • If your cat tends to hide away during storms, make sure you know their favourite spots so you can find them quickly if needed.
  • Dogs should be on secure leads with a well-fitting collar or harness in case they panic. Make sure they are wearing a name tag with up to date contact details on.
  • If you have time to pack, try to take everything you need for you and your pet, for example food, blankets, a lead and any medications.
  • If you have to leave without your pets, move them into a safe room upstairs with plenty of fresh water and food. As soon as you’re safe, let the rescue services know where your pet is so they can reunite you.