Many Britons are feeling the effects of Storm Eleanor today, including travel disruption, the destruction caused by fallen trees and a loss of power in thousands of homes across the UK.
It’s also left many pet owners wondering how they can keep their pets safe and happy during bad weather. Animal welfare charity Dogs Trust has issued the following advice to help reassure owners:
- If the storm is disrupting your dog’s exercise routine, activities such as a toy filled with food so that they can use up some energy playing and ‘exploring’ for food, often work well. Games like this are also a great distraction from any unsettling sounds. If you are able to head out safely, always keep your dog on a lead in case they get scared by any sudden noises.
- If you need someone to care for your dog during the storm, in the first instance try friends and family, otherwise try your local authority. Remember lots of organisations, including local authorities, may be affected and may not be able to offer immediate help. But, they may be able to recommend licensed boarding establishments.
- If you know of any neighbours, relatives or friends who have pets and might be affected then please keep in touch with them. When extreme unforeseen events like this happen, there are so many things to think about that it is very likely they will need your support.
- If you are near an area that may flood, be aware that flood water could contain raw sewage, and might be contaminated. Keep you and your pet out of it as the water could contain toxins, which could be dangerous to your pet if swallowed, and could remain on their coat if not bathed properly.
- Pet owners should know where their pets are at all times. If there is any risk to pets kept outside, ensure they have a safe shelter, or if appropriate bring them indoors. They may be scared and unsure, and will need reassurance.
A spokesperson for Dogs Trust, “We realise that stormy weather can be unsettling for dogs, especially if they haven’t experienced severe weather conditions before. We hope our advice will help owners provide comfort to their canine friends, as well as advice on safety issues if they are in the midst of unexpected consequences such as flooding, where their dog could go missing or become unwell. We would also recommend that if their dog is particularly nervous, owners should take a look at our fireworks advice as there are lots of tips which, if put into practise now, could help to prevent their dog from becoming worried or agitated in the future.”
Seeking the advice of a qualified trainer or behaviourist may also help if your dog is frequently worried by storms.