Flooding is common during winter but can happen any time during the year. Pets are part of the family and the idea of losing them or leaving them behind in an emergency is unthinkable. But by being prepared, you can ensure that your pets are safe, even if the worst happens.
Sometimes, flooding may be very temporary and you might be lucky enough that it clears up after a day or so. However, if you’re in an area prone to flooding or it rains a lot more than expected, you may find it can cause a lot of upheaval for your family.
How to prepare for floods
If you live in an area at risk of flooding, keep an eye on weather warnings so you can prepare in advance. You can find out about flood warnings by:
- Finding out if you live somewhere at risk of flooding
- Signing up for flood warnings
- Watching local news and weather reports on the TV
- Visiting the MET Office or Environment Agency website for up to date information on all weather warnings in your area.
You can prepare your pets for any floods by:
- Making sure any pets you have are microchipped and your contact details are up to date, in case you are separated.
- Keeping a supply of food and water ready, in case of a flood.
- Having carriers for cats and small pets on hand in case you have to leave your home quickly. Remember never leave pets unattended inside a carrier if in a flooding situation.
- If you live in an area that’s at a high risk of being flooded or that often floods, think about getting life jackets for you and your pets.
- Check home insurance policies to see if they cover boarding costs for pets, in case of damage to the home that means you’re unable to stay there.
Staying safe during a flood
If there is flooding in your area, here’s a few things to remember to keep your pet safe:
- Don’t take your dog for a walk until the area is safe again.
- It’s a really bad idea to take your dog out to ‘see what’s happening’ because it could put you and your pet in danger.
- Keep cats indoors with access to a litter tray so they can’t get stranded by rising flood water.
- Close doors to keep pets shut away from the floodwater, if it has come into your home.
- Move small pets inside. If you can make space for them upstairs in your house, that will help keep them safe if your home does flood.
- Remember, floodwater is often contaminated and could harm your pet if swallowed, so keep pets well away from the water. Dog vaccinations are important and should include a vaccination against Leptospirosis, a harmful bug that can be found in and around water (including floodwater).
- If any of your pets do get caught in flood water, never jump in after them. It could put you in danger as well. Leave rescues to the emergency services.
- Remember to keep your pet’s insurance up-to-date. Flooding can be a stressful time for our pets and they run the risk of hurting themselves.
What to do if you have to leave home
If your home is in danger of flooding, you might need to leave quickly. Here’s what to do if you’re told to evacuate:
- If there is a flood warning, try to find somewhere to stay on higher ground with a friend or relative and take pets with you if you can.
- If you are not able to leave your home, move upstairs with all of your pets.
- If you’re flooded out of your home you may be moved into temporary accommodation by your insurance company. It’s not always possible for your pets to stay with you, so be prepared to find a boarding kennel or pet sitter.
- If you’re evacuated, you might have to leave your pets behind. No-one wants to do this but it’s important to stay safe and follow advice from the emergency services. Leave your pets in a safe upstairs room with plenty of food and water. Put a notice on your door or windows to let the emergency services know there are pets inside. Once you’re safe, get in touch with the RSPCA or local flood warden and tell them there are animals in your home that need rescuing.