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How to Keep Pets Safe During Winter Storms

Tips on how pets can be protected and kept safe during the relentless winter storm

As the storms continue to affect Southern California, keeping dry and safe has been a goal for most families and this includes making sure that their furry family members are out of harm's way. Inclement weather can create an unsafe environment as well as cause anxiety and stress to some pets. LA County's Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) and the Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation have some advice on how to keep pets safe and secure.

Keep pets indoors as much as possible and in a secure area in your home. Make sure gates or main entry ways are secured so as not to allow your pet to get out and stray and into dangerous areas.

Check collars and harnesses to make sure they are snug and fit your pets well when walking them. Loose collars and harnesses can cause accidental slippage which may allow your pet to get away and be lost in the rain.

Avoid letting your dog's paws stay wet for an extended period. The moisture and pet's body heat create a great environment for proliferation of bacteria and fungus, causing infection in between toes and footpads. It is good practice to wipe your pet's paws dry after walking on wet grass or pavements.

Heavy downpour and strong winds can cause anxiety to some pets. Talk to your veterinarian about medications or products that may help manage their anxiety.

Have an emergency plan. Preparing a kit of essentials for your pets (warm blanket, water, food, collar/harness/leash, medications, copies of recent medical, license, and vaccination records) in case an evacuation in your area is put in place. Also, be aware of your pets' favorite hiding places so they can easily be found during an emergency. In a dire situation that you need to immediately evacuate and will be unable to bring your pet, make sure they are not in a crate/cage/kennel and have an exit out of your home. They have a better chance surviving and getting to safer ground than being in a confined location.

Microchip your pet. In case that you and your pet get separated due to the disaster, reunification is more likely to happen if your pet has a microchip that can be tracked back to you. Make sure the microchip has your updated information. A dog collar with updated contact information may also help reuniting you with your pet.

Assess the risks in your home and neighborhood in case of extreme rainfall and try to identify potential emergency scenarios. This will help you develop a practical and effective evacuation plan.

Marcia Mayeda, DACC Director says, "The best time to plan for an emergency is before it happens" and this piece of advice is a working rule for DACC's Emergency and Disaster Response team. This team has worked alongside LA County's first responders, assisting residents and their pets to ensure animals are brought to safety and cared for in times of disasters. DACC's emergency response program is supported by the community through the Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation's Noah's Legacy Fund, making certain that resources and necessary equipment are on hand or are quickly available when the need arises.

The Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation is a 501(c) non-profit organization that supports DACC through fundraising to support DACC's efforts to care for animals, increase the ability to save lives, and to respond to emergencies and disasters.



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