When you are coping with the ordeal of flooding in your area, the last thing you need to deal with is the loss of or injury to a much-loved pet.
As with your family and property, the best way to protect your animals at a time of flooding is preparation.
According to research conducted for the Environment Agency, fewer than one in 20 people have made advance preparations to minimise the potential damage and heartache caused by flooding.
Your animals rely on you for their protection and well-being. In times of flooding and possible evacuation, they need you to ensure their welfare. However, never put your own, or another human life in danger to save an animal.
Pets and floods - Be prepared
- Some human shelters will not allow animals. Ring your local authority to check its policy.
- Make sure your cats and dogs are wearing proper identification. The Blue Cross recommends that all cats and dogs have both a microchip and an identity tag, with up to date contact details, on their collar – the latter is a legal requirement for dogs.
- Make sure food and any medicines are well stocked.
- Arrange for a trusted neighbour to take in your animals if you are away from home when an evacuation order comes.
- If you are planning to board your animals while you go away on holiday, check that the kennels you use are not liable to flooding. Ask them for information on their emergency procedures.
- Work out an escape route and decide if you need extra gates for emergency access to horses and other animals in fields.
- Stay updated. Listen for warnings on local TV and radio or call Floodline on 0845 988 1188 for information on your area 24 hours a day.
Pets and floods - what to do during a flood warning
- Bring all small animals inside and, if possible, take them upstairs.
- Move food, bedding and fresh water to somewhere safe and dry.
- Keep your portable pet carriers at hand.
- Keep familiar toys dry, as animals under stress will welcome something that smells of home.
- Think about taking animals to a family member or friend who lives outside the flood risk area until the risk has passed.
- Put documents like vaccination records, your vet’s details, and pet’s microchip number in a sealed bag with any other important documents. Include a current photograph in case your animals should get lost.
- Move horses to high ground.
- Keep tack and rugs off the floor.
- Put your contact details on field/stable gates so you can be contacted in an emergency.
Pets and floods - during a flood
- Leaving animals behind, even if you think you’ve created a safe place for them could lead to injury or loss.
- It could be several days before you can return home.
- Cats, rabbits and other small animals must be transported in suitable carriers, birds in a secure cage and dogs using sturdy leashes.
- In cold weather put a blanket over the carrier. Do not put water inside the carrier during transportation.
- Remember to take your animals’ food, water, bowls and bedding with you.
- If you have no choice but to leave your animals behind, leave them shut inside an upstairs room with ample supplies of food and water.
- Leave notices on external doors saying there are animals inside and contact the RSPCA or your local Flood Warden immediately.
- Never put your own or another human life in danger to save an animal.
How to find out about flood warnings
- Phone Floodline on 0845 988 1188 to find out about which flood warning services are available in your area. These include:
- Floodline Warnings Direct - Receive warnings by phone, text, email, fax or pager.
- The Media - Television and radio weather reports show general information on flood warnings.
- Flood Wardens - Some areas have volunteers who issue warnings door to door.
- Teletext - Flood warnings appear on BBC Ceefax page 419 and Digital Ceefax page 405.
- Internet - Visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk for local flood warning summaries.