Saturday, February 23, 2019

Storm warning 'Bombogenesis' poses special challenges to families with pets

Over the past few days, here in Southeast Michigan, we've been hearing murmurings of a rare winter storm event -- Bombogenesis -- that will evidently matierialize later this weekend. It seems important to highlight the inherent challenges this weather event can pose to sharing life with pets, along with some ideas to keep everyone safe.

  • Bring your outdoor pets inside.
  • Check for breaches in your yard fencing and inspect the latches on your fence gates before letting your pets loose in the backyard.
  • Keep the deadbolts on your home's doors locked to guard against the extreme wind blowing the doors open, allowing pets to escape.
  • The noise from the wind can trigger a sense of unease with some pets. Consider playing background noise like talk radio or soothing music to buffer anything going on outdoors. Synthetic pheromone products like Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs can help promote a sense of calm.
  • During times of noisy, turbulent weather, pets have a higher incidence of becoming confused or frightened of escaping their homes. Ensuring that a pet's microchip information is updated (with your current address and contact info) is crucial, as is having your pet wear a secure collar with tags bearing their name, your current contact info and rabies tag. Don't forget to use that smartphone and snap some up-to-date photographs of your pet. 
  • Exercise a heightened sense of caution with regard to your pet's outdoor activity. Check your property for downed power lines each time your pets go outside, and be very vigilant for dangers like these while walking your dogs, regardless of where you are.
  • Explore back up plans for pet-friendly lodging or boarding options beforehand should you lose power for an extended period of time, and have your pet's vaccination records, food and other essentials handy should you need to leave home in a hurry. 

Lorrie Shaw is a Certified Professional Pet Sitter, Certified Pet Loss and Grief Companion, and owner of Professional Pet Sitting, where she specializes in ancillary pet palliative and pet hospice care. She's also a member of Doggone Safe (where she completed the Speak Dog Certificate Program), as well as the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care, Pet Sitters International, Pet Professional Guild, International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (supporting member) and Ann Arbor Area Pet Sitters. Lorrie can be found at She tweets at @psa2.