When a heavy snowfall hits, it can often be too late to run out and get supplies for your pet. That’s why emergency preparedness in the event of a winter storm is so essential. Severe winter weather can bring road closures, power outages, water shortages, or leave you snowed in for a few days.
Here are some ways you can keep your pet safe this winter in the event of a storm:
Keep an emergency preparedness kit
An emergency preparedness kit will ensure you have all your pet-related essentials and supplies necessary for getting through the first 72 hours of an emergency. For a list of items to include in your kit, view our page on emergency preparedness for pets. Be sure to check the contents of your kit twice a year and replace any items that have been used or need updating.
Bring your pet indoors
Household pets should be kept safe indoors during a storm. After a heavy snowfall, walk your dog on a leash to make sure your dog doesn’t wander into potentially dangerous areas. The storm may have caused damage along your walking route or there could be dangerous or sharp objects hidden under snowdrifts that pets should be kept away from.
Plan in case of a blackout
In the event of a blackout, make sure candles aren’t kept in areas where your pet could knock them over. For some pets, like birds and reptiles, access to a heating source in the winter is essential. Make sure you have a backup plan if there’s a power outage, such as battery-operated equipment or a generator. For aquarium owners, you’ll also need to have a backup power source to provide heat and filtration for your tank.
Have an evacuation plan
In the event of an emergency, you may need to evacuate your home. Your emergency preparedness kit should include a list of pet-friendly places to stay outside your immediate vicinity (e.g., names of relatives or pet-friendly hotels). If staying at one of these places isn’t an option, you should also have a list of boarding facilities as well as instructions on your pet’s feeding schedule, behavioural/medical concerns or other special instructions. Note: Pets are generally not allowed inside emergency shelters designated for people, with the exception of service animals.
ID your pet
A well-fitting collar with up-to-date identification and contact information is essential in case your pet becomes separated from you during a storm. Microchipping your pet is especially useful, since it provides a permanent means of identification. Make sure your information associated with the microchip is kept up to date.
Being prepared in case of an emergency is something that can benefit you and your pet all year round, not just winter. Make sure you have a plan, practice it, and make sure everyone in your home knows their role in keeping everyone—including your pets—safe.