In Oklahoma, the weather can change in a moment. Especially during storm season, it is important that we are weather-aware and prepared to take on the worst of Oklahoma weather.
Perhaps you find yourself away from your home when severe weather strikes, or you are unsure how your pets will react to being in a storm shelter. Either way, following a few simple steps can help the entire family stay a little safer.
The Central Oklahoma Humane Society has learned the best tips for being prepared through experience. During the terrible storm that rocked our neighbors in Moore, Oklahoma in 2013, we took in 100 extra pets in an effort to help reunite families.
Storm season preparedness and staying weather aware can save lives in Oklahoma
These six steps can save your pet’s life in a severe storm or tornado:
- Of course, we always recommend that pets come inside during bad weather. The stories we hear of pets being lost in stormy weather usually begins with a gate or fence. By checking your gate or fence before the storm begins, repairing loose panels, or tieing your gate closed can help prevent an accidental escape.
- Let’s face it: sometimes pets get lost, especially during storms. In fact, one in three pets will get lost in their lifetime. Updated and secure collars and tags are the cheapest, easiest option for helping to identify and reunite you and your lost pet.
- While collars and tags are the first thing someone will check if they find your pet, they also are not permanent. Microchipping your pet is a safety net for being reunited with your lost pet. The microchips are not a locator, but they can be scanned at local vet clinics, shelters, and even pet stores and identify the owner of the pet. Have you relocated since microchipping your pet? Check online to make sure your address and other information is up-to-date.
- Have a plan. Please do not leave your pet behind. In your plan, know where you and your furry family members will take shelter and where you could go after the storm passes, if necessary. Before storm season begins, check local hotels and shelters to see who allows pets. If your local weather teams are telling you to be weather-aware before the storm, it is better to be safe than sorry. If you hear about upcoming weather, keep your pets in a hard-sided crates if you happen to be at work just before the weather begins. The crate is the best place for them in case a tornado strikes, you are not home and unable to get them into a safe place, or you find yourself missing walls or doors in your home.
- Build a kit for your dog and cat that will help you wait out the storm in a shelter. A good kit could include:
- A hard-sided crate
- 3 days’ supply of food and water with bowls
- Your pet’s favorite blanket and toy
- A pet first aid kit
- Disposable bags, a litter tray, and litter
- Be digitally prepared! By having these items on your smartphone, you can be reunited with your pet much faster if they are lost:
- The ASPCA’s app which helps store your pet’s records, tell you what to do if your pet is lost, and even build missing pet flyers!
- Pictures of you and your pet together (to prove they belong to you)
- Pictures of your pet’s medical records
Anytime there is a risk of severe weather in our state, preparedness is key. Following these guidelines and staying weather aware can help protect your family, both furry and furless, from dangerous storms.