Joey’s Tuesday Tip – Storm Safety
By Scott Lackenby | Dated April 21, 2015
Hey guys. How about the weather?!? As you all know, I don’t like it when it’s wet and windy and cold. But I’m glad that I’m a pampered Pymble Vet clinic cat who has his choice of warm beds when the weather outside is yucky. And I know that we’ve spoken about this in the past, but I thought given the recent weather that we should re-look at ways to keep your 4legged friends safe during storms.
1. Minimising storm phobias
We see this more commonly in dogs, but can affect cats too. While you humans know that thunder, lightening and howling winds will pass, we animals can think that the world is ending. To help us, make sure we have somewhere safe to hide from the storm. Create a den where it’s dark and quiet for us. We will often pick our own safe spot, so that’s a good place to create our den.
There are artificial pheromones you can buy for both dogs and cats that mimic the happy hormone secreted by Mummy dogs and cats. These can be either in the form of a plug in, spray and there’s even a collar for dogs. If you think that this is something you would like to try, come and have a chat to the Nurses.
In severe cases, medication may be required. Like with all prescription medications, they will need to have a thorough check up and they may even need to have a blood test to make sure that they are all healthy. If you have tried the non medication ways to minimise your pets storm phobia with no improvement, give us a call to organise an appointment with one of our Vets.
2. Escape proofing your yard
Storm phobic dogs often run around with little to no idea of what or where they are going. These are often the dogs who end up in with us as lost dogs. Make sure that fences and gates are secure, particularly when there are strong winds. If your dog scales your fence, make sure there is nothing in front of the fence they can use to help aid their escape. If your dog doesn’t need climbing aids, think about putting wire around the top of your fence at an angle. This should help to make the fence jumping a little more difficult.
If you do have an escape artist on your hands, make sure that they have a registered microchip with your correct contact details and that they are wearing a collar with a name tag. While this won’t stop them from escaping, it will ensure that they will be returned home to you if they do escape.
3. Keeping outside animals safe and dry
Not all animals are indoor animals. However, where possible, when there are severe storms, everyone needs to be inside. This includes birds, bunnies and guinea pigs. Now, this won’t always be an option. If it isn’t, make sure cages and hutches are protected from the elements, that they have a dry area to escape the rain and that they aren’t going to blow away in strong winds. If you have outdoor fish ponds or bowls, you may need to cover them so that they don’t flood and wash the fishes away.
4. Have an evacuation plan
If you live in an area that is prone to flooding or bush fires, you need to have an evacuation plan. And this needs to include your animals. Have carry cages, boxes, collars and leads close at hand in case you have to leave in a hurry. Have your pets essentials, food, medication and bedding close at hand.
5. What to do if you find a sick or injured animal during a storm
Unfortunately our wildlife doesn’t always fair too well during storms. Nests and burrows can be washed or blown away during a storm leaving birds, reptiles and marsupials misplaced and even injured. If you find injured wildlife, the best thing to do is get it to a Vet. If you are picking up wildlife, just remember that they are called wildlife for a reason, they are wild animals. Sick and injured animals can be extra unpredictable so extra care needs to be taken. Pick them up with gloves or think towels or blankets. Put them in a secure box or carry cage and get them to your nearest Vet ASAP. If there is going to be a delay in between catching them and getting them to a Vet, just make sure they are in a quiet, dark place until you take them. This helps to minimise their stress. If you find an injured animal, not just during a storm but at any time, remember that GVH is a 24 hour Vet. If it is after our usual opening times, call our main number, 9498 3000, and listen to the recorded message for what to do for our after hours service.
Well, I had better go. Stay safe and dry everyone and I’ll see you on Thursday for Pet of the Week. Meows for now, love Joey xoxo