During an emergency, disaster, storm or just a general disruption of a schedule your pet can become stressed and anxious. Be ready to help them stay calm and feeling secure. You already know if your dog, cat or other pet hates fireworks or thunderstorms. But even if they’re okay with the lights and bangs they may not take a disaster with the same equanimity. You’ll be stressed and they’ll take their cue from you.
Get an anti-anxiety vest or wrap. Often referred to as a Thundershirt® (available at Amazon), one specific brand, these anti-anxiety vests can help calm your dog or cat (and I’m assuming other pets as well) during a highly stressful time.
For a do-it-yourself wrap (which works!), use a scarf, long narrow strip of cloth, or a stretch bandage like Ace®. Place the middle of the scarf (cloth or bandage) on the front chest of your pet, wrap both ends up and over the animal’s shoulders and back (the withers). Then bring the wrap down under the chest behind the front legs (the girth). If your scarf or cloth is long enough, cross the ends around the belly and back up to tie on the back. If the scarf isn’t long enough, tying off under the belly will still provide comfort to your pet. Within seconds my large dog is calmer and will even fall asleep during a thunderstorm. He enjoys the feeling of security it provides that he prances around if I ask him if he wants his shirt on. He’s ready.
Even the self-sticking wrap bandages can be used if you have nothing else. You’ll just start at one end and make the same general wrapping pattern, just not with two ends.
Another option is pet calming is pheromone products. You can get them as a spray, diffuser, or collar. The pheromone products are species specific but are safe for humans and other species.
Another item to add to your emergency kit is a muzzle. Even if your dog doesn’t normally bite, in times of stress, you don’t want your animal reacting instinctively and hurting you, anyone else or another animal. If you don’t have a muzzle, use another leash. Take time now to search on YouTube to see how to create an emergency muzzle . Here's one I found — Emergency Dog Muzzle, youtu.be/h8CwNyfaU3g.
But rather than limit it to an emergency muzzle, get a soft muzzle and spend time getting your pet familiar (yes there are muzzles for cats and dogs). Use the time it takes for them to get comfortable as some good quality together time. Search on YouTube for a video on how to get your dog used to a muzzle.
Pick ONE action to take today:
Get an anti-anxiety vest and use it during thunderstorms, fireworks, or once a month to get your pet used to it.
Get a scarf or cloth and practice wrapping you animal up.
Watch Emergency Dog Muzzle, youtu.be/h8CwNyfaU3g or other video on making an emergency muzzle
Possible Next Actions:
Disaster Preparedness for Birds, reptiles, horses, and small animals: www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/disaster-preparedness
Dhucks' Pet Emergency Kit List - download pdf for free - use the Promo Code FREE
My book on preparing for emergencies
31 Small Steps to Organize for Emergencies (and Disasters)