Pet Preparedness: Caring For Your Pet in Extreme Weather Emergencies

Published on June 7, 2019 by cclohisy

Pet wearing raincoat for extreme weather preparedness

Global warming is triggering extreme weather events to the climate worldwide. Because of these extreme weather conditions, most people experience climate change. Many of these events have increased in strength during the last 50 years. The National Climate Assessment released its findings which list the types of extreme weather conditions that are wreaking havoc on the environment.

Extreme weather events include:

Weather Emergencies, Livestock and Wildlife

One of the worst cases of drought in recent history was in Texas in 2011, according to the 2011 Texas Drought Report from the Texas Legislature. More than 100 days reached temperatures of 100 degrees or more. The drought cost $10 billion in agriculture damages. What most people don’t consider is that the first victims of severe drought are farm and wild animals.

During a weather emergency, veterinary technicians are saviors. Those who have completed a program caring for farm animals may have to administer services when animals are injured.

Rescue Services

In a weather crisis, wild animals are often injured and in need of medical care. As a result, rescuers must locate stray animals or wildlife and determine if they’ve been injured. It’s vital to determine immediately if animals left behind are injured and require medical care. A veterinary technician trained to handle wild animals is best qualified to care for them in this phase of the recovery.

Animals that have gone through the trauma of a weather crisis are easily frightened. For this reason, it takes a trained veterinary technician who has experience with wild animals to handle them and make sure they get the care they need. Once the emergency is over, animals should be returned to their habitats or new locations with adequate food and shelter.


Floods are more common than ever before. More intense storms and human factors are responsible for a lot of flooding. More extended periods of precipitation with more massive rainfall amounts, higher snowfall rates, melting snow, and infrastructure failures of levees and dams are responsible for more of the damage from flooding.


The intensity of hurricanes in the Atlantic has increased since the 1980s. The increase in activity is partially due to rising sea temperatures and increasing rainfall rates in warm climates. Models indicate that more Category 4 and 5 storms are anticipated with approximately a 20% increase.

Before National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was able to monitor storms, a lot of tornadoes weren’t documented. Today even if a tornado isn’t observed, the National Weather Service is able to discern if a tornado caused damage from a storm.

Severe Storms and Tornadoes

There isn’t evidence to indicate the frequency of tornadoes is on the increase because NOAA has been studying and documenting them for more than 55 years. The intensity and frequency of these storms are under close scrutiny. The biggest problem with tornadoes is that they’re so unpredictable. For this reason, people often don’t have time to prepare and get themselves and their pets out of harm’s way.


Wildfires are huge, uncontrolled fires that can destroy thousands of acres of forests. According to the U.S. Fire Service, more than 700 wildfires occur across the country each year that destroy more than 7 million acres of land. Although careless people cause some wildfires, most of them ignite by lightning.

Winter Storms

More intense and frequent winter storms are occurring in areas around the country and have been on the increase since the 1950s. The intensity of these winter storms with more precipitation is due to global warming.

A Weather Crisis Means Animals Need Help Too

Weather emergencies can take many different forms like a blizzard, flood, hurricane, tornado, or wildfire. When a weather crisis occurs, it’s best to stay in your location unless you’re directed by local authorities to do otherwise. If you’re alerted by authorities to evacuate, you should have a plan in place to make sure everyone in your family, including your pets, are safe.

This is what should be part of your weather crisis plan:
  1. Receiving emergency alerts
  2. Having a shelter plan
  3. Knowing your evacuation route
  4. Being able to communicate with your family

Planning Ahead for Emergencies

NOAA Weather Radio is an excellent resource for receiving emergency information from the nearest office of the National Weather Service. If you live in an area that’s prone to severe weather or seasonal storms, it’s a good idea to have supplies ahead of time that you’ll need in the event of severe weather when people are advised to stay off roads.

When you’re a pet parent, you must also plan what you’ll need for your pets including extra food, warm blankets in case the power is out, and a supply of any medications that they take. You should have crates that are roomy enough for your pets in case you have to evacuate.

Evacuate if Necessary

There are specific steps to take before you must evacuate to make sure everyone in your family, including your pets, are all safe. Before a weather crisis happens, you should know all the evacuation routes in your area.

Choose destinations in a different direction you can go to in the event of an emergency. One of the most important things to do is find out which hotels or shelters accept pets. Many shelters only accept pets that are service animals.

Check Alternate Routes

You should be aware of alternate routes and follow the directions of emergency personnel if you’re told to evacuate. One of the most critical points to remember is that animals get scared when there are storms and may try to hide in a remote place.

Keep Your Pet Safe During Evacuations

When a storm is coming, it’s advisable to keep cats and dogs in crates or carriers until the severe weather has passed. If you’re told to evacuate, your pets will be ready to go too. Another way to make sure your pets are cared for during a weather crisis is to find out where local animal hospitals or clinics are. A veterinary technician can provide information about boarding facilities at their practice or others that may be nearby.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about how a veterinary technician can help during a extreme weather interest you? Ready to start a program to become a veterinary technician? With an associate degree in veterinary technology, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.

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