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BOAH: Severe weather planning for pets

Two rounds of storms will roll across the Hoosier state on Thursday, bringing with them the possibility for severe weather. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Spring is finally in the air and so is severe weather.

The Indiana State Board of Animal Health warns Hoosier pet owners of the inevitable stormy weather that arrives with spring. Here are a few tips provided by BOAH that can keep every member of the family — including our furry friends — safe in face of tornadoes and power outages.

  • Make a “Go Kit”: Gather in one place everything your pet would need for a three- to five-day trip away from home. This includes a crate/carrier, water and food bowls, bottled water and food, leash, treats, toys, medications, copies of vaccination records, and (for cats) litter and a disposable litter pan. Include those items that would keep your pet comfortable. Put everything in one place, ready to grab in an instant if you need to leave your home.
  • Make an evacuation plan: Pre-determine three to five places where your pet can stay if you must leave your home quickly. This could be a kennel, veterinary clinic with boarding services, the home of a friend or family member, or (for those who prefer to stay with their pets) pet-friendly hotels. Have all the contact information, including addresses and phone numbers stored in Go Kit or on your phone. Identify places 5 miles to 20 miles away from home, in case the disaster area is widespread. Pre-planning where you can go can ease the stress in an emergency situation.
  • Make a shelter-in-place plan: In some situations, staying at home (or “sheltering in place”) may be the best option for your pet. When you need to stay put with your animals, secure them indoors, like in a bathroom, barn or garage, preferably without windows. The smaller space will protect the pet from injury from debris or weather conditions. If possible, provide the added security of a crate or cage, to provide a calm environment when pets are more likely to act out under stress. Bathrooms are ideal, because they are small, have running water, and often have pet-friendly flooring.
  • A disaster plan for animals does not have to be complicated or difficult to prepare.

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