With the Met Office issuing severe weather rainfall alerts for tomorrow until the weekend, Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, has produced the following advice for anyone with concerns relating to the safety of pets at this time:
If you know of any neighbours, relatives or friends who have pets and might be affected by the flooding then do contact them to offer assistance. When natural disasters and extreme unforeseen events like this take place there are so many things to think about that it is very likely they will need your support.
If there is any risk to pets kept outside, then if appropriate please bring them indoors. They too will be scared and unsure of the situation and will need reassurance.
Pet owners should ensure that they know where their pets are at all times and if appropriate then move them to a safer location either inside the house (for example, upstairs) or outside the house (for example, with friends or relatives).
Please remember that flood water may be contain raw sewage and so often contains all sorts of contamination. Try to keep yourself and your pets out of it as any toxins or bacteria could remain on your pet if swallowed or if they are not bathed properly afterwards – not to mention the fact that you too could also get sick.
If your dog does get caught in flood water or falls into a flooded area please do not jump in after them as this could put you at risk. Almost all dogs are excellent swimmers and will try to swim out if encouraged to do so. Contact the emergency services or your local authority dog warden who will be able to help.
If you haven’t already, consider getting your dog microchipped just in case you get separated from your dog.
If the poor weather is disrupting your dog’s routine because you are unable to exercise them, your dog still needs to be kept active and mentally stimulated. Try using activity toys such as a Kong filled with food so that they can use up some energy playing and ‘exploring’ for food – as well as being distracted from any unsettling sounds.
If you have been affected by flooding and need someone to care for your dog in the short term please, in the first instance, contact friends and family to see if they can help. If this is not a possibility then please contact your local authority but do be aware that lots of organisations, including local authorities, may also be affected by the flooding and may not be able to offer immediate help. However they should be able to point you in the direction of someone, or another organisation, that can.
If you have any more concerns please contact your nearest Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre – you can find all their details here: http://www.dogstrust.org.uk/rehoming/our_centres/