We will be feeling the aftereffects from “Superstorn Sandy” for quite a while. I am writing this under generator power which I am thankful to have. A hot shower and a cold refrigerator go a long way to making me happy. I’m sure many of you lost power and were concerned about the possibility of being evacuated. Luckily, we did not have the torrential rain that was predicted and the waterways behaved themselves so most of the damage in this area was from the wind.
In the effort to prepare for this storm, people were advised to stock up on water, batteries and non-perishables. It was important to heed this advice, but it is also important to remember your pets when preparing for disasters.
Add them in when you buy water and remember to have plenty of their food also. If your pet is on medication, make sure you have an adequate supply. Keep your veterinarian’s number handy in your cell phone.
Identification is also important. While a collar and ID tag are certainly a good idea, these can be lost. Using a microchip can permanently identify your pet. These chips, the size of a grain of rice, are easily injected under the skin with a special needle. Most shelters, pounds, veterinarians and many police departments have the scanners to read the chips. It is also important to remember never to use any form of choker collar as a regular collar. If your dog gets away, he can get it tangled up in a fence or brush and can strangle himself. They should be used only for training or walks.
During a stressful incident like a hurricane or other severe weather, your pets can become very anxious. They often know it is coming long before you do. The dramatic drop in barometric pressure that preceded Hurricane Sandy started the day before and many pets were agitated already before the night when the storm actually hit. Allowing your pet to find a safe spot is perfectly fine. The tendency is to want to comfort them with soothing words and treats, but by doing this, you are inadvertently reinforcing the behavior. It is best to just leave him alone, close all window shades if possible and turn on a radio to drown out some of the noise of the storm.
It wasn’t long ago that evacuation centers would routinely refuse pets. What they discovered is that many people refused to evacuate because they couldn’t take their pets with them. Now, many of these centers will accept pets and house them in a special kennel area. When an evacuation is called, remember to pack a bag for your pet as well.
We hope that you came through this storm safe and sound. Blairstown Animal Hospital did not sustain any damage other than the loss of power. We would encourage all of you to help out your neighbors, especially those who are elderly or ill, and be patient until everything finally gets back to normal. Best wishes to all of you.