It’s Storm Season! Are you prepared? Is your pet prepared?

As daily thunderstorms rumble across the sunshine state, many anxious pets whine, whimper or hide under the bed. In some situations the loud noises and flashing light can cause excessive fear, resulting in nervous behaviors such as trembling and panting. Distressed animals natural response to flee from what they interprets as a threatening situation may result in serious injury. Frightened animals frequently slip out open doors and windows, and some are even so frightened they jump through glass windows or run from the yard–one reason why having your pet microchipped is critical.

Give your pets the best chance to be returned to you quickly and securely: microchip them

Microchipping your pets gives them the best chance of reuniting with you should they lose their collars or if they get lost and you’re not sure where to look. Vet offices, shelters and animal control facilities use universal scanners to check for microchips when an animal is received at their facility. Microchip information includes the pet parent’s name, address, telephone number and emergency contact, as well as the pet’s information. Give your pet the best chance to be returned to you quickly and securely by having him or her microchipped today. Microchips are only $25 at SPCA Florida’s McClurg Animal Medical Center; make an appointment today, (863) 646-7722.

How to Help Frightened Pets

Frightened pets need security, but what makes them feel secure varies. SPCA Florida strongly discourages owners from closing pets in a room or cage they don’t normally spend time in as it only adds to the anxiety and insecurity. Instead provide your animal with a familiar place where the cat or dog can hide. In anxious situations, pets want to blend into the surroundings and disappear.

Most pets prefer having their owners at their side or at least nearby. Familiar background noises such as radio, TV or music can lessen the startling impact of abrupt sounds such as thunder. Owners are also encouraged to stay relaxed and speak to pets in a calm manner as excitement or fear may increase distress.

For extreme cases of noise anxiety, owners should seek a consultation from a veterinarian and explore the use of anti-anxiety medication, which should be used as an aid, not a total solution. Owners should be mindful of a severe storm rolling in because anti-anxiety medications take between 30 to 60 minutes to work and are most effective when given before the trigger begins rather than at the first sign or as an after thought.

2015 Polk County Hurricane Shelter ListHurricane Preparedness

Though Central Florida has been spared from serious hurricanes the past few seasons, having a disaster preparedness plan for your family, including four-legged members, will ensure you’re not caught off guard. We encourage pet parents to be aware of local kennels that board animals during evacuations, make temporary pet care arrangements with family or friends out of the area, or be familiar with pet-friendly shelters and motels throughout your region. Most shelters, kennels and motels require current records of shots as well as identification, kennels/carriers, food/water and other provisions found in our Pet Survival Kit. For more information on pet disaster preparedness check out these helpful sheets:

Animal First Aid Kit

Pet Identification Card

Making arrangements for your four-legged family members in advance and having your pet’s survival kit ready to go will help reduce the stress of a looming storm.