Animal Expert Vendy Fris-Clark Shares 10 Tips for Keeping Your Pets Safe During a Hurricane

cat pets safe hurricane
Cat looking out of window at rain. Getty Images

Protect your furry family! As Hurricane Florence, a category 2 storm, nears South Carolina, it is important to prepare your pets for a state of emergency and keep them safe.

Vendy Fris-Clark, who serves as director of The Barkley Academy at The Barkley Pet Hotel & Day Spa in Westlake Village, California, spoke exclusively to Us Weekly about this issue and shared her best tips for animal safety during hurricane season.

“Unfortunately, there is not a perfect formula on how to prepare our pets for emergency situations such as hurricanes,” Fris-Clark tells Us. “But there are things you can prepare in advance.”

Here’s what she advises:

1. Safely Inside
“Safety is the most important so keeping your pets inside in a safe place or in a crate is ideal,” the Positive Power Dog Training owner suggests.

2. Supervision Is Essential
Fris-Clark recommends that all pet mom and dads look after their furry little ones at all times during urgent ordeals: “Don’t ever leave your pets outside unattended during those emergency situations because even very well trained dogs can get in panic mode and escape or get hurt.”

3. Identification Importance
“Your pet should always wear a comfortable collar with his name tag and phone number and should definitely be microchipped,” notes the animal obedience and behavior specialist. “You are minimizing the chance of your pets getting lost if they are all wearing collars with identification and microchips.”

dog hurricane safe pets
Dog in crate. Getty Images

4. Keep Calm and Carry On
It’s also crucial to create a stress-free environment for your four-legged friends. “A lot of pets get very afraid of loud noises so having soft music on if possible is helpful,” says Fris-Clark. “It’s one of the important distractions besides giving them something to stay busy with, like a bone or chew toy.”

5. Cool and Collected
Pet parents can take additional measures as well to ensure calmness: “There are also natural remedies available to keep your pet calm but it’s best is to talk to your veterinarian about those options.”

6. Setting the Standard
On that note, Fris-Clark emphasizes the importance of setting a positive example. “In those difficult times, it’s very hard for people to keep calm, but remember, our pets copy our behavior,” she explains. “If you express anxious and panicked behavior, they will mimic the same atmosphere. Try to keep calm because that will help your best friend the most.”

7. Plan Ahead
You can take certain steps to prepare your pet for urgent ordeals. “If you are living in an area where hurricanes and thunderstorms are more common, you can work on desensitizing your pet to those circumstances,” Fris-Clark proposes. “Try to find a reputable trainer in your area who can help with this very specific training. 

8. Health and Happiness
Keep them feeling pawesome! “Always provide plenty of water and have food available if needed,” Firs-Clark reminds Us. “If your dog is on specific medication or supplements, make sure you have those available.”

9. Have a Game Plan
Planning ahead is also a vital step to ensure safety. “If you need to evacuate your family and your pets, you should prepare a special evacuation plan, especially if you have more than one pet,” Fris-Clark urges. “Safety is No. 1 so each pet should be in a pet carrier or kennel if possible during any transportation. You should write your name, phone number and pet name on each kennel.”

10. Worst Case Scenario
If worst comes to worst, there are resource available to help you reunite with your beloved bet. “If for some reason your pet is nowhere to be found, contact local ASPCA and they usually have a specific procedure on what would be the next step to get your furry family member home safely,” Fris-Clark says.

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