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Tornado Tips for Pet Owners

Tornadoes are among the most terrifying and destructive natural phenomena – and they rarely give much warning. Having an emergency plan for your entire family – including your pets, is critical in staying safe during a tornado or severe storm. The experts at American Humane have put together a series of tips to help before, during and after a tornado strikes:

Before a tornado:

  • Identify a tornado-safe area large enough for your entire family and pets (often a basement or the most interior room of the house on the bottom floor).
  • Practice getting the entire family to the tornado safe area quickly during calm weather.
  • Make your tornado-safe area pet-friendly by removing any dangerous items such as tools or toxic products.
  • Keep your family and pet preparedness kits in your tornado-safe area or close by. Ensure that you have a crate for every animal.
  • Know your pet’s hiding places and how to quickly and safely extricate them. Eliminate any unsafe hiding areas from which it may be difficult to remove your animal in a hurry.

During a tornado:

  • If an evacuation is possible, take your pets with you. Make sure you take your pet preparedness kit and that your animals have proper identification.
  • If you cannot evacuate, take your entire family – including pets (both indoor and out) – to your tornado-safe room.
  • Pets should be put in crates or carriers in the safe room. If possible, place the crates under a sturdy piece of furniture.

After the storm has passed:

  • Use caution allowing your pets and other family members outdoors.
  • Exit only AFTER the entire storm has passed.
  • Assess the damage yourself first before bringing your pets outside with you.
  • Keep your dogs on a leash and cats in a carrier.
  • Watch for objects that could cause injury or harm to your pet.
  • Allow them to become re-oriented. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and cause your pet confusion or to become lost.
  • Keep pets away from food or water or liquids that could be contaminated from the storm.
  • Keep pets away from downed power lines and debris.

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