It's tornado season in many areas of the U.S., and with recent tornado systems doing damage from Oklahoma to Ohio, it's important to know the game plan if something goes wrong in your area. Here are some tips to help keep your pets safe during tornado warnings.
1. Microchip and ID Your Pets
This is a preliminary safety measure - and something you should do already! If your pets have embedded microchips and ID tags, it will be a lot easier for you to get reunited with them in the case that they get away during a storm.
2. Enable Weather Alerts On Your Device
This is a general safety tip (not just for if you have pets), but an important one: enable critical weather alerts on your mobile device (if you have one). These alerts will alert you with an emergency tone, whether or not your volume is in, in order to wake you up if a storm happens at night. This will give you time to prepare.
3. Keep Your Animals Inside When You're Gone
While your dog probably loves to run around your yard, you shouldn't leave them outside if you're leaving your house. Anytime you leave your house, make sure that your dog is inside. That way, if any kind of storm happens while you're gone, your pup can at least have the shelter of your house instead of being vulnerable in the outdoors.
4. Take Your Animals With You to the Basement
The safest place to be during a tornado is in the basement. If you hear a tornado warning, be sure to bring your pets with you to the basement or windowless room that you're taking shelter in. Your dogs, cats, and other animals will be scared - so be sure to coax them to come with you however you can.
5. Put Your Cats in a Carrier
If you can, try to get your cat or small dog into their carrier before you bring them with you to your safe space. Cats especially can get very frightened and tend to dart and hide if they hear loud noises. Putting them in their carrier will ensure that they'll stay safety with you.
6. Know Where to Look
If a storm is bad and causes damage to your house, you might lose sight of your pet. It's hard not to panic, but stay focused in where to look for them. Look first in your house, or any wreckage of your house, as pets can often be hiding under debris. Look where they usually hide and call out to them. Be patient.
If you can't find them after searching, be sure to look at local shelters and check local Facebook groups, like "Lost Pet" pages.
Tornadoes and other natural disasters can be scary, but just stay alert, prepared, and take your (and your pet's) safety seriously.