The Calm…Before, During, and After the storm…for Pets

IMG_8801Strong winds and heavy rain this week are weakening fences, causing doors to expand due to the moisture, and breaking windows. Your Rancho Coastal Humane Society (RCHS) is urging pet owners to inspect their properties to make sure the storm has not created “escape” routes for pets that are already frightened by the severe weather.

“This storm is expected to continue for a few days,” says RCHS spokesman John Van Zante. “We understand what’s happening and it’s still scary. Imagine how terrifying this is for our pets that aren’t used to this kind of weather.”

Van Zante is encouraging pet owners to inspect their homes to keep their pets safe.

  • Excessive rain and wind can weaken fences, making it easy for frightened pets to dig under fences or between posts that have been weakened by wet ground.
  • High humidity can cause doors to swell. Doors that normally close could remain ajar, making it easy for frightened or curious pets to push through.
  • Windows and frames damaged by high winds and flying debris can result in escape routes for pets and broken glass.

“After the storm has passed, we need to reassure pets that they’re safe,” says Van Zante. “Speak in a soothing voice and remember that pets can tell when you’re upset. You might wrap scared pets in a blanket or Thunder Shirts for reassurance. If you need to leave them alone, leave them in a secure area with something that smells like you. Even a shirt or blanket that smells like you can help keep them calm.”

Van Zante says to let frightened pets recover at their own paces. “Don’t force them to leave the places where they feel safe. Leave them under a bed, behind the couch, or in a closet. Coax them out with treats or affection. They will come out when they’re ready.”

For cats, many veterinary professionals recommend using a synthetic pheromone spray such as Feliway. It imitates the pheromone that a mother cat releases to her kittens, helping to calm frightened cats. It’s available at most pet supply stores.

For more information visit Rancho Coastal Humane Society at 389 Requeza Street in Encinitas, call 760-753-6413, or log on to www.sdpets.org.