How To Avoid Wasp And Bee Stings

The wasp and bees are becoming more active as they are looking for more food and a place to settle before winter moves in.

Bees in fake flowerOld school belief system of dealing with wasp that are bugging someone is to trash or swat at them. I have learned from stinging experience and then severe allergic reaction that this is usually a very bad approach. If this approach is done to Africanized Bees, pray to God for a quick death because what they will do in a group stinging event that will be very painful, if kill their victim.

If I can deal with the wasp or the bees without hurting them, I will. My belief system means that I don’t thrash or swat at them period. If they land on me they usually fly off within a few moments without stinging if left alone. I will walk away from anyone thrashing or swatting at them, especially when they have been asked to stop. I don’t do anything at all to agitate them into stinging me or anyone near me. My own and my pet’s health does come first, as well as my client’s pet health.

If I am faced with a wasp or a bee, I don’t challenge it – I just  the leave area (e.g. car, kitchen, picnic area) until it has gone and I do not run or thrash or swat. I also teach my dogs not to bite at bees, it really isn’t good for them.  They do have a way of telling you that you are too close to them, learn how they communicate to you that you are to close.

Understanding The Dangers Of Using Toxins Around Pets

Gig in is younger years

As I am contemplating the words to use in informing pet owners about toxins effecting cats and dogs, I am thinking of my golden retriever, Gig.  In 2000 he came through is initial pet checkup with no problems.  A week later he stopped breathing and my pet CPR training brought him back.  I took him to Vet ER Clinic and they diagnosed him with lung cancer.  It was an advanced cancer, which means it was there when the primary vet did his yearly exam.

 

Gig only had a few more weeks to live and to be humane I put him to sleep after coming home from work and smelling that death smell starting to come from him.  I am tears writing this portion and to this day, I still miss him so much.

If I had known then what I know now, I would have fought with my now ex and his insistence in using so much toxins to maintain the yard.  There is a lot of substances that we use in our yards from compost pile to fertilizers, and other various poisons we use that can cause serious problem if ingested, breathed in, and even absorbed by our pets.  I found out years later that the use of frequent fertilizers can cause lung cancer because they breath in that substance.

Even the frequent use of spraying in a house or around a house for bugs can be deadly to pets.  I recently found this out.  A family member started having bug problems after a flood so she paid for bug spraying to get control of them.  A few months later the bugs came back and she paid for spraying again.  A few months later she had the bugs back and found out that it was the whole block being invaded.  She was forced to have her home sprayed for a third time within a few months.  All spraying was done by the same company.  The company told her to wait two hours before bringing the pets back in, she waited three hours and cleaned only the flooring that the dogs would be on.  Within a few days of being back into the house, they all had respiratory problems.  About a week ago she took one of them back because it was having problems and the vet told her that the liver was responding to poison, it died a few nights ago.  Her landlady who is not a trained vet has been mentally abusing her by telling her that the dog died from being overweight and contradicting the trained medical advice of a vet.

It is illegal in the US to be giving medical advice to anyone or to anyone’s pets, if the person giving the advice is not trained or licensed and this includes the new age and the holistic peopleAs well there are some things that should or should never be said to someone who has lost a loved one, even if it has fur.

After doing some research on professional bug spray, I find that the recommended spraying guidelines states to not spray more than twice a year or every six months that doing so could be hazardous to pets health.  This relative had sprayed three times within a six month period.

The Pet Poison Helpline has a lot of good information.  I am reading a nice article now on Things In Your Yard That Are Poisonous To Dogs And Cats.

Before using toxins in our homes and on our pets, do some research and learn about the products first.

I am not trained medical professional and I do not give medical advice so if your pet is sick please take them to a trained medical professional.

To Stay Active Outside During Winter Select Proper Clothing

Trojan dressed for negative temperatures in Southern Illinois 2014

Trojan dressed for negative temperatures in Southern Illinois 2014

Many of us have seen Christmas Story and the scene that Ralphie is so well insulated that his arms are stuck up as he has been bundled for his walk to school.  He whines “I can’t put my arms down” and his mom comments “Well..you can put your arms down when you get to school.” When I work in locations that require walking dogs in snow and ice, I can’t be bundled up like Ralphie.  When we are out playing with our dogs in winter areas that has snow and ice, we need to be able to move about safely and stay warm.

I lived in Alaska for two years and really had to prepare for travel in subzero temperatures.  Part of that ritual was having my own traveling winter emergency kit available.  It includes extra warm clothing, blankets, dry shoes, a candle, a lighter or water-proof matches, food that doesn’t freeze, access to water, emergency flares, a first aid kit, and the list goes on.  The biggest challenge was dressing for winter.  I had to learn to layer so that I wouldn’t be walking around like Ralphie.  One of the important layers is two pairs of breathable socks or a pair of heavier breathable or insulated socks, if your feet got cold or wet there can be problems.  Then the first layer was the layer closest to the skin after the undergarments and socks.

Trojan hiding behind pole

In Alaska that first layer was a polypropylene top and bottom, this is also called long johns, long underwear, or a base layer. From that I would put on the normal outerwear garments: pants, blouse, or sweater.  I got into the habit of wearing two tops one being a turtle neck and then something on top of that.  That way if I got to hot inside I could remove a layer of clothing.  From there came the coat (my coat in Alaska was gauged for minus weather) or a jacket that covers the butt.  I sometimes will double layer under the coat with a fleece vest.  To protect myself from the wind a light weight pair of ski pants to cover the bottom.  I like to double layer my hands, head, and neck.  For the hands my first layer would be a light weight pair of contact gloves and either another set of heavier gloves on top or a pair of mittens.  There are also gloves out where the wearer can remove the top to expose the fingers just in case one can’t use the fingers with gloves on.  For the neck/chest area I would put a scarf under the jacket and a neck gator that would cover a portion of the neck, mouth and nose.  I use to double layer the head gear as well, using a warm hat and either on or under the hat I would wear ear mittens.

The final dress wear before going out in snow and ice is the shoes.  Your type of shoes will determine how warm and dry your feet are and wearing normal tennis shoes in snow or ice will maintain this goal and will be slip resistant.  Using waterproof shoes or boots that are lightweight will help.  Coating those with a water repellent fabric treatment can help waterproof shoes.  Traction is very important on ice and snow, I keep a pair of slip-on cleats to put on the bottom of my boots, these are similar to the ice shoes worn by those who climb glaciers.  Don’t forget polarized sun glasses to block the glare of ice or snow, it’s important that you see where you going.

In 2013 Southern Illinois got a lot of negative weather temperatures and I actually layered well enough that my main layer was a hunter’s jacket (camouflage on one side and orange on the other) all winter long.

Gitli dressed for negative temperatures in Southern Illinois 2014

Gitli dressed for negative temperatures in Southern Illinois 2014

Take care of dog paws, some dogs won’t put up with dog boots on their feet so using a petroleum jell on their feet will help protect the paws just be sure to wipe off when your back from walks.  Do your best to protect the paws form getting cut by ice or the salt while out walking.  Rinse the paws in warm water to remove ice pellets and other ice melt products, so not to send the body into shock.

Winter can be a wonderful season to be out in about walking dogs and taking care of pets. Take care of yourself and dress appropriately during the winter to protect yourself.  Don’t forget to take care of pet’s paws when out walking.

Joyce Rheal is based in Southern Illinois and is a nationally certified pet care consultant, trainer, and the author of Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies and Disasters and Disaster Plans: Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies and Disasters.

Top Toxins That Can Poison Our Pets, Do You Know What Is Or Is Not Toxic?

Trojan and Gitli near the fireplace

 

“Happy National Poison Prevention Week! In 2013, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in Urbana, Illinois, handled nearly 180,000 cases of pets exposed to toxic substances, many of which are everyday household items.”

 

Read this great article from the ASPCA and learn more about common household items that results in frequent calls to APCC.

Winter Storm Preparations

Gitli dressed for negative temperatures in Southern Illinois 2014

Gitli dressed for negative temperatures in Southern Illinois 2014

 

I recently was on a radio broadcast with Peaceful Planet Pets and one of the topics of discussion was the fact that folks were leaving their pets out while the Blizzard Draco came rolling through.  At the end of 2013 winter season approached fast, were you prepared?  Does your disaster plan include winter weather?

Using wolves as an excuse to leave dogs out in these types of weather conditions ignores the evolution between wild and domestic dogs.  Wolves have adapted to these types of conditions but our domestic dogs have adapted to living with us.

 

 

 

I lived in Alaska for two years and really had to prepare for travel in subzero temperatures and part of my own preparations was  a winter emergency kit available and it includes things like extra warm clothing, blankets, dry shoes, a candle, a lighter or water-proof matches, food that doesn’t freeze, access to water, emergency flares and the list goes on.  Winter weather conditions can change on a dime, so plan your routes and stay alert to your weather reports, try to avoid the storms, and be flexible.  Sliding off the road and into a ditch will not help you get there anywhere quickly.

How do you prepare for winter?

Either purchase or build your own car winter kit and become familiar with everything in it, items to include (not all inclusive):

  • Have extra blankets, sleeping bags or space blankets in your care
  • Extra warm clothing
  • A Flashlight with extra batteries, there are flashlights available that will charge cell phones
  • A first aid kit for your car
  • Carry a knife, high calorie and non-perishable food, candles, water-proof matches, something to melt snow in for drinking water
  • Sanitary items like baby wipes, tissues, paper towels, garbage bags
  • Carry sand or cat litter for tire traction and a shovel to dig out with
  • Tool kit should include tow ropes, windshield scrapers, and jumper cable
  • A compass and roads maps, you may have to go another route
  • Emergency flares
  • A full tank of gas will keep ice from forming in the tank and fuel lines
  • Keep someone information of your schedule and routes
  • Winterize your vehicle before winter begins and this includes having good tread on tires, carry chains
  • Build your kit to your needs

Before leaving home, pound the hood of your car before starting.  Cats and other small animals may have climb in to seek warmth from the car.

Not all pets arctic breeds and can survive in harsh winter conditions.  Dogs and cats can also get frost-bitten.  When I lived in Alaska, my dogs were required to have covering for their feet because their paws could freeze to the ice, which could be painful for the dogs.  Even then I knew of sled dog owners when it hit zero and below brought their sled dogs in to keep them warm over the winter.  They could tell how cold it was by the number of dogs piled on the bed for warmth with their people.

Trojan dressed for negative temperatures in Southern Illinois 2014

Trojan dressed for negative temperatures in Southern Illinois 2014

 

 

If feral dogs and cats are in the area, encourage a temporary shelter so that they to can get out of the wind.  I can only imagine what these animals are thinking as they try to survive in conditions that are harsh for them and how many of them really just want to be safe, warm and fed.

 

 

 

 

Other cold-weather tips:

  • Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia.  This can include: violent shivering followed by listlessness, weak pulse, and lethargy. The parts of the body that is mostly exposed to the weather are more likely to get frostbite and includes ears, tails, and feet. The treatment for frostbite is to apply warm (not hot) water soaks to the frostbitten part for 20 minutes but do not rub or massage those areas. Most importantly seek medical attention.
  • Winter ice melters can be harmful to your pet.  Rock salt can damage your dog’s paws, and worse and they ingest all of that harmful salt by licking off their paws. Chemical ice melters are dangerous to and if you do need to use it, prevent the pets from walking on it. Encourage your clients to use the pet-friendly products that can melt ice without salt.  Never assumed these products are safe if ingest.  Don’t forget to wipe off paws as pets enter the home.
  • Antifreeze is a deadly poison:  Wipe up any spills, store antifreeze out of reach, and double check that your car doesn’t have a leak.
  • Dogs and Cats love sleeping next to a warm fire. Screen off fireplaces so pets can’t get too close and risk being burned.
  • Stock up on supplies.  Winter weather can bring heavy snow or ice at happen anytime. Keep extra pet supplies on hand and encourage your clients to do the same for their pets.
  • Keep an Emergency Kit.  These can be tailored to your needs and the changing season.  Include in the kits: emergency food, water, blankets, flashlights, first aid supplies, medications, a weather radio, and other supplies that you would need. Be prepared!  Encourage your clients to maintain their own emergency kits and know where these kits are kept.

Emergencies happen and winter storms can bring power and water outages, fallen trees and massive limbs blocking roadways, even evacuation orders. Having emergency plans and kits in place will save time when in a crisis.

Be prepared for winter conditions.  Please encourage pet parents to be prepared and to bring their animals in during the winter including their cats.  If the pets are not able to come in provide appropriate shelter out of the wind that contains bedding for warmth and unfrozen and clean water for them to drink and food to eat.

Joyce Rheal is based in Southern Illinois and is a nationally certified pet care consultant, trainer, and the author of Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies and Disasters and Disaster Plans: Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies and Disasters.

Finding the Right Pet Sitter / Midwest Tornado Outbreak

talk2theanimals_ver2_300pxWith the holidays approaching, many people have started the search for a pet sitter so they can travel, having peace of mind that their animal pals are well cared for if very important. 

Click on the link below:

What you need to know when looking for a pet sitter.

 

 

 

Included in this article is a free book giveaway.  No strings attached and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect with the recent Tornado Outbreaks in Illinois on November 17, 2013.  A minimum of 15 tornadoes either were seen or touched town in Illinois and several cities were affected.  On this day I was attending to clients pets securing them in their homes not knowing what actually was going to happen, especially after Emergency Management Agency text met to report to the EOC.  Before leaving to care for my clients pets, I secured my own in their crates in the basement.  The dogs seemed to know something was up and willingly went inside their crates.  While I was gone, my companion saw the rotating wall cloud that would hit Washington, IL with an EF4 tornado.

Brookport and Union City in Illinois were also hit with an EF3 Tornado and my friends in who work with various Animal Controls and rescues, have noted there are dead cats and dogs everywhere.  Many of the human and animal victims of these tornadoes are homeless right now.

Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies and DisastersIt’s important to be prepared ahead of time.  So I am giving away in a drawing one Free Copy of “Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies and Disasters”  Click here for instructions on winning a copy of the book.

 

 

Why is Being Prepared For A Disaster Important?

Trojan inspection

 

“Modern-day preppers face a much bigger adversary – Mother Nature. With brutal winters, tornadic springs, fiery summers and a hurricane season that lasts for months, calamity seems ubiquitous in the news.

 

Before adversity strikes in your neighborhood, watch this episode of Pet Talk where Dr. Sarah offers her insights for how to avoid pandemonium in the wake of turmoil. Take this opportunity now to learn how to get your house in order, with helpful tips from our good doctor.”  Click here to learn more.

 

Protecting Your Pets from Getting Lost or Stolen

Trojan and Gitli aug 20 2012I have lost count to the many phone calls and emails from upset pet parents whose pets have gone missing and these call usually come several days if not a week later.  I ask the usual questions.  Does your pet have a collar with an ID tag?  Is your pet micro-chipped?  Do you have a current photo of your pet?  Have you put up flyers and contacted the vets, shelters, police, animal control in a 10 miles radius?

The usual answer to these questions is No.

One of the most frightening things that can happen to any pet owner is their pet disappearing. It does happen.  Some pets will run off to explore or hunt and then are not able to find the way home.  Some pet get out of their enclosures, slip off leashes, or even dart from the car or from an open door.  Some pets are lost after a vehicle accident or are stolen.  Dog theft is on the rise and the target is usually purebreds, hunting dogs or bully breeds.  The dogs get sold on the black market to labs, puppy bills, or even as bait dogs for dog fight training.

A responsible pet owner will protect, supervise, and know where their pet is at any given moment and yet after all the efforts made sometimes things just happen. We can take steps to protect our pets from becoming lost or stolen:

  • Keep color photos of your pet and of you being with your pet current.
  • Be diligent in checking the pets enclosure or fenced area to ensure that escape isn’t possible.  A fenced yard DOES NOT guarantee that your pet is safe and secure without supervision.  Dogs can dig under, jump over, and climb up and over fences.  Even a little hole can become an escape route for a determined pet or thief.
  • Most places have leash laws for dogs, follow the leash laws and do not let your dog run off leash in an unfenced area.
  • Some dogs and cats tend to run out an opened door, be careful when opening doors.
  • Avoid leaving pets alone in the yard, car, or tethered outside of a business. It really does take just a moment for a pet to vanish.
  • Make sure leashes and collars are secure.  I recently transported a dog whose collar was not fitted to him and he slipped out of it.  I am thankful the dog responded to his training and went right to the car to jump in.  I fitted his collar immediately.
  • Make sure your that the data on your pet’s collar and micro-chip are up to date.
  • Most communities issues rabies and license tags to pet owners, securely attach these to the pets collar.  Keep these tags valid, these can help trace the pet owner.
  • If your pet is tattooed make sure it’s visible and that the data at the Tattoo Registry is up to date.
  • Replace frayed, worn, or chewed collars, leashes, and cable runs.
  • Be careful with the retractable leashes, they do not normally give pet owners optimal control and when some dogs will dart when these are dropped because of the noise it makes hitting the ground and retracting.
  • Many pets turn up missing after a big noise event or loud parties, especially related to fireworks.   Make sure pets are secured during these events and never leave them outside and unattended.  Other loud triggers can be thunderstorms, construction noises like nail guns, big delivery trucks, other types of large equipment, motorcycles, gunshots, backfire from vehicles, sirens, and horns.
  • Traveling with your pets can be fun but travel safety is very important.  Take precautions and if flying the crate needs to be secure and properly identified.  Keep pets from running out of open vehicle doors and do not leave them alone in the vehicle.
  • Training your dog is important.  A solid foundation of obedience training can be essential especially a strong recall command.  Keep treats handy at all time for incentives.

Not all lost dogs will bark for help and some instinctively remain still and quiet to avoid getting the attention of wild or human predators.  Time is of the essence when a pet vanishes and pet owners must take immediate action:

  • If theft is a possibility call law enforcement immediately.
  • Post signs and flyers that has a current color photo of the lost pet and your contact information on it, be sure to include in large black letter “LOST DOG or CAT” and include a description of your pet.  If your pet is tattooed or micro-chipped mention that but do not mention what the tattoo or micro-chip number is.
  • Contact local animal hospitals, shelters, animal control, rescue groups, and other pet related businesses
  • Canvass the neighborhood and ask friends, neighbors and family members for their help.
  • Post lost dog ads in the newspaper
  • List your dog online at lost dog databases.
  • Act fast and do not give up hope
  • Don’t beat yourself up, even the best preventative measures don’t always work
  • Post on websites designed to help with lost pets.
  • Utilize Social Media like Facebook and Twitter and don’t forget to include your location which means include the city and state.  I have seen a lot of lost pet posts that don’t include this vital information.

There are criminals who will see your misfortune as an opportunity to make money so beware of scams.  Avoid posting the actual reward amount, tattoo and micro-chip information on the signs and flyers.  Do not give out your full name and address for your own safety.  If you receive a tip do not send any reward money until your pet is safely in your arms.  Never go out alone to pick up your pet from anyone you do not know and let your friends and family know where you are going.

Other tips to remember:

  • When your pet is spotted don’t chase this could cause your pet to run away whether it’s out of fear or being playful.  Make sure your search parts knows this and that they know how to approach or shy or fearful dog.
  • Leave fresh food and water, bedding with shelter and some favorite toys outside the pet’s home
  • Periodically visit each of the locations of where signs and fliers have been posted and replace as needed
  • Don’t forget to post a sign on your vehicle and ask friends and family to do the same
  • Keep tracks of all places you have posted sign and visited and remove signs immediately after your pet is home.  Keep a log of online listings as well and remove your listing when the pet has returned home.

Pets owners don’t expect to have their pets get lost or stolen yet assuming it could happen and taking steps to prevent it can help.  Sometimes all the preventive measure just isn’t enough.  Never leave your pet unsupervised in vehicles, tethered outside of business or even in their own yard.  If you think your pet has been stolen contact the police immediately.  If your pet becomes lost take immediate steps.  Most importantly, Don’t Lose Hope and Keep Getting The Word Out.

Joyce Rheal is based in Southern Illinois and is a nationally certified pet care consultant, trainer, and the author of “Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies and Disasters” and “Disaster Plan: Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies and Disasters.”

Murphysboro, Illinois Derecho May 2009

Trojan inspection
A derecho is a widespread, long-lived, straight-line windstorm that is associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms. Generally, derechos are convection-induced and take on a bow echo form of squall line, forming in an area of wind divergence in the upper levels of the troposphere, within a region of low-level warm air advection and rich low-level moisture. They travel quickly in the direction of movement of their associated storms, similar to an outflow boundary (gust front), except that the wind is sustained and increases in strength behind the front, generally exceeding hurricane-force. A warm-weather phenomenon, derechos occur mostly in summer, especially during June and July in the Northern Hemisphere, within areas of moderately strong instability and moderately strong vertical wind shear. They may occur at any time of the year and occur as frequently at night as during the daylight hours. Attribution: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derecho

Below is a video of the storm damage that I received after a Derecho came through Murphysboro, Illinois May 8, 2009.

Have You Prepared Your Pets for Emergencies and Disasters?

Joyce Rheal is based in Southern Illinois and is a nationally certified pet care consultant, trainer, and the author of Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies and Disasters.

Keeping Pets Safe During Tornadoes

A picture of a tornado showing the kinds and sources of vortex infrasound generation. Attribution: NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory   Source:  http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/programs/infrasound/isnet/

Attribution: NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory Source: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/programs/
infrasound/isnet/

Tornadoes can happen at any time during the year, yet the most common season for tornadoes starts in the spring as the cold temperatures give way to warmer.  In most cases, tornadoes happen at night, and being prepared is what will make the difference of our pets surviving and not being separated from us.

Tornadoes are violent rotating column of air that contact with the ground and a cumulonimbus, or in rare cases the base of a cumulus cloud.   They come in many sizes and shapes yet most are visible as condensation funnels in which the narrow end touches the ground resulting in damage, downed trees and flying debris and dust.  The majority of them occur  in “Tornado Alley”, a specific region of the United States.  Tornadoes have been observed on every continent except Antarctica and can occur anywhere in North America.

The U.S. National Weather Service (USNWS) uses pulse-Doppler radar to detect and recognize patterns of storms that may produce hook echoes.  The USNWS provides storm spotters classes for volunteers to be weather spotters to assist in the efforts of spotting dangerous storms.  USNWS has created a network of weather professionals and storm spotters that provide them with vital information to inform communities of approaching tornadoes.  “When thunder roars, go indoors!”

Tornadoes usually come with thunderstorms, and understanding the different alerts is imperative to protecting yourself and pets.

  •  Severe thunderstorm watch means that conditions are right for lightning or damaging winds great then 58 miles per hour, hail that can reach a diameter of 0.75 inches, and heavy rain. Start taking actions to protect yourself and your pets.
  • Severe thunderstorm warning means one has been sighted either in your area or is headed your way.  Animals, especially dogs, often hear thunderstorms long before humans, and will indicate the storm’s approach by becoming anxious, hiding, vocalizing or showing some type of stress. Horses sometimes will run around their pasture frantically.
  • Tornado watch means that conditions are right for tornadoes to develop and keeping an eye on the sky became imperative.
  • Tornado warning means that a tornado has been sighted, either by a spotter or on radar.  These warnings will give the location and the path of the tornado.  Warnings will go out immediately to areas that can be affected by the warning.  Take cover when warnings are issued in your area – and include your pets!

You can increase the chances that you and your pets will survive a tornado by preparing yourself.  This means taking several steps to keep yourself, your family and your pets safe during thunderstorms and tornadoes

  • Make your disaster plan and include your pets and practice it.
  • Designate a safe area in or near your home that will allow animals to be brought inside.  Pet-proof these areas by closing off and eliminating unsafe corners and areas where pets may hide, and move dangerous items likes tools and chemicals from these areas.
  • If you don’t have shelter from a tornado, stay in the center of your home and away from the windows and outside walls.  Take cover under solid furniture or mattresses and protect your heads.  Your pets should be in carriers to protect them.
  • If you are driving and a tornado is spotted  get out of  your car with your pets and seek shelter. If you use a ditch, be watchful for flood waters so that you and your pets do not drown.  Protect your head and stay low to the ground.
  • Teach all family members what to do if they are at home, outside, in a car when these storms approach and include teaching them how to relocate all animals to safe areas.
  • If your animals become stressed during these storms, mitigate their responses.  Contact your vet for safe solutions and remember that drugging them could actually hinder attempts at relocating them to safe areas.
  • Brings your pet inside and remember: if it is NOT safe for you to be outside it is NOT safe for  your pets to me out.
  • Create an evacuation and first aid kit for your family including your pets and keep it easily accessible.
  • Maintain emergency pet supplies as part of your evacuation kit and secure this in a tornado proof room or cellar.  Be sure these supplies can be easily transported.  Include in your kits:
    • An adequate supply of food, water and treats for your pets
    • Sanitation items which can be litter box and litter, puppy pads, bags for picking up dog feces.
    • Crates for each pet to provide a secure place for them as the storm passes.  Emergency shelters that accept pets will require these before pets are granted access.
    • Do not forget your pets medications.
    • Include copies of your pets vaccinations and current photo of them with you.
    • Make sure your pets shots are up to date
    • Each pet should have a collar with an identification tag that is up to date and visible.
    • Micro-chipping your pet will increase the changes of your pet being reunited if you become separated.  This information must be up to date.
    • Practice with your pets in getting them into the tornado safe area
      • Train dogs to go into the safe areas and to come on command during distractions
      • Learn to teach how to quickly and safely secure all your pets
      • Find favorite hiding places and learn how to safely remove pets from them.

 Never leave pets chained or enclosed outside in a way that they cannot escape danger.

 Take your pets, evacuation and first aid kits if you have to evacuate.

Tornadoes can occur anytime of the year. By taking precautions and making preparations, pet parents can increase the chances of their pets’ survival and staying with their families.  Your pets are family too! When tornado warnings are go off, take cover and take your pets with you.  Taking care of your pets after the storms will be just as important.  Your home maybe very different after a disaster; familiar landmarks and  smells are missing, things in disarray, downed trees and power lines. This can be very distressing and confusing for your pets.  Leash your pets and don’t allow them to roam in the yards.  Your pets can easily get lost under these conditions.  Keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers until you have completed your damage assessment to prevent escapes.  Get your pets back to normal routines as soon as you can and be patient with them as they may develop behavioral issues resulting from stress.

Joyce Rheal is based in Southern Illinois and is a nationally certified pet care consultant, trainer, and the author of Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies and Disasters.