“Uh oh. I hear a loud roar in the distance and it’s getting closer. I don’t like this. I don’t like this one bit. How can my human just sit there? The noise frightens me. I want to get away from that loud noise.” — stressed pet
Although the chances of a person being hit by lightning is only 1 in 500,000, there are still approximately 51 deaths reported annually. Livestock is at a bigger risk since they spend most of their time in open fields and pastures, according to Pet MD, but did you know that your own pets can be at risk of a lightning strike? Here are some simple ways to protect our canine and feline companions from this “shocking” experience.
Trees and Wide Open Spaces
If your dog spends a lot of its time outdoors, you will want to place its doghouse away from any large trees. This can become a potentially fatal object if struck and can crush your dog if it falls on top of its shelter. If you have a wide open yard with no trees, remember your dog will become the tallest object and is at risk of being hit by lightning during a storm or by falling or flying debris.
Never chain a dog to a metal pole or object during a storm. These can become conductors of lightning and may be fatal to your canine companion. In addition, cats left outside may seek shelter inside your car’s engine which can lead to burns if struck or worse when you start the car.
Have a Plan in Place
Some people believe that, if there’s no rain or thunder, then lightning will not occur. This simply isn’t true. In fact, lightning can strike up to 10 miles in front of an approaching storm and oftentimes “out of the blue.” For this reason, pet-parents should have a plan in place to protect their animals. Bring in your pets from the outside. This can be inside the house, a barn or garage. Make sure the area is secure so frightened pets can’t escape, putting them at risk of exposure or getting lost.
If you and your dog are caught in a storm take immediate shelter in a safe location. Never stand under a tree, lie flat on the ground, stand near metal objects like wire or electric fences, stay clear of bodies of water and always go to higher ground if your area is at risk of flooding.
Having a plan-of-action is the best way to keep yourself and your beloved companions safe during this stormy season. If you don’t already, take this Lightning Preparedness Week (June 21st to the 27th) to get a solid plan in place. You will be happy and relieved you did when the thunder begins to roll and the sky is flashing with electricity.
Some pets aren’t affected much by thunder and lightning, others can’t bare it. How does your pet react? Let us know.
At KirinGie.Me, we aim to create a supportive community of pet-owners where you can share your pets and their unique stories with other animal lovers — a place to connect.