According to the American Pet Products Association, their 2015-2016 pet owner survey shows that 65% of U.S. households own a pet, which equals approximately 79.7 million homes. With pets in that many homes, I think it is a reasonable statement to assume that some of those structures are in the floodplain and at risk of being in a flood. Yikes!
Pets (Dogs) Love Water
Since Valentine’s Day is coming up, let’s talk about what pets (specifically dogs) love about water. The easy ones come to mind for dogs:
- To drink on a hot day;
- Splash in a lake after a ball;
- Getting a bath – hmmm maybe… 🙂
- Go swimming.
My cat hates water and the thought of rain, so not all pets love it.
Can Pets Cause Localized Flooding?
With some pets, such as dogs, there needs to be adequate outdoor space. This can be a huge selling point for people with pets looking to purchase a home. This typically leads to homeowners constructing fences in their backyards…we have discussed previously about fences in the rear of a lot and how they can block the flow of water. Check out my blog post – Start a Controversial Conversation with Property Owners called “Who Owns That Easement” to learn more about easements and fences. Fences block water!
Caring for Pets During a Flood
Structures in a floodplain are at risk for flooding. If you have a pet, be prepared to take it along to safety. The Humane Society recommends making a disaster plan for your pets. Some tips from this pet safety checklist include:
- ID your pet;
- Find a safe, pet friendly, place to stay ahead of time;
- Make arrangements with someone you trust to get your pet before disaster strikes if you cannot get home in time;
- Check your home and backyard for wild animals that may have sought refuge there during a flood.
While these are just some of the tips, the premise is to make emergency preparations for your entire family.
The Flood Finale
Some pets, such as dogs, love water. But I doubt that any pets love floods. Numerous pets were left behind during disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. It is estimated that approximately 250,000 animals / pets were left behind during this disaster in 2005. Due to this, the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act was passed in 2006. It is heartbreaking to imagine leaving behind these members of the family.
If your home is in the floodplain, or has a fence blocking a major drainage ditch, be prepared to get your beloved family member out of harms way before the heavy spring rains return. You may be glad you did.