When the Lights Go Out

Things to Consider for Pets During a Power Outage

Welcome back to the Veterinary Emergency Clinic blog! If it’s your first time, be sure to look through some of our older blogs to learn more helpful pet emergency prevention tips. Here in Western New York, our holiday season was unfortunately overshadowed by the now famed “Blizzard of ‘22”. Our hearts go out to everyone here in our region, who undoubtedly was affected in some way by the treacherous storm. Because of the sheer strength and stark reality that we all were forced to face, whether you lost power or knew someone who lost power, it’s understandable why we are talking about this topic today. 

Power outages are scary, no matter where you are. Whether your power company lets you know ahead of time that they need to do a routinely scheduled outage, or you have a tree fall on your power lines during a storm of the century, it’s important to be prepared for periods of time with no light, heat, or electrical power. 

This stark reality brings up an important topic for our industry, what do you do if your power goes out and you have pets?

Today we wanted to raise a few things to consider as a responsible pet owner if and when you experience an extended power outage. 

Comfort is Key

If your power is only out for a few minutes or a few hours, and the weather is mild, most pets won’t really notice. The 2 most important factors are time and temperature. If the power outage is going to be extended, or if the weather is extremely cold, or hot, then it’s important to consider steps to ensure your pet is comfortable.

When It’s Cold

If you’re facing cold temperatures, try to provide your pet with some additional bedding and warmth. Dogs and cats may need some additional blankets and you may need to move them into the warmest part of your home. Cats and dogs could also use some of your body heat, (and you might need some of theirs) so snuggling is encouraged. Always ensure dogs and cats have fresh clean water to drink, and if you know a storm is approaching, remember to store some extra food. 

Reptiles, amphibians, rodents, and other small pets should also be considered when electricity is not available for warming pads or lighting. Have a backup plan for if you lose power, and know what your caged critter might need in terms of alternative backup heating sources in the event of a cold weather outage.  

When It’s Hot

Buffalo can get hot in the summer, and a power outage on a very hot summer day could be dangerous. Good clean drinking water is vital when temperatures soar, and you’ll want to consider letting your animal stay somewhere shady and cool. Basements usually keep a bit cooler temperature for tough times. A Frozen water bottle could be a nice cooling method for small critters, but once again, always be sure to know the best temperature and humidity conditions for your caged or tanked animals. 

Have an Emergency Kit

Sometimes we know a potential storm is coming, sometimes we don’t. Things happen, and emergencies occur, but one thing you can always have is an emergency kit, but only if you’re proactive. Consider all the things you might want to have if you needed to grab everything and go. This is what you should have in your pet emergency kit. Here are a couple of things to consider:

  • A portable carrier
  • Fresh bedding
  • A supply of food, supplements, and treats
  • Dishes for water and food
  • Bottled water
  • First aid supplies
  • Toys or chews

As a pet owner, it’s responsible to be prepared for an emergency. Oftentimes we consider pet emergencies to focus on the animal, but it’s important to know what you’re going to do if an emergency surrounds you and your animal. Staying calm is always key, as your animal will feel how you behave. If you have any questions regarding being prepared for your particular animal, we recommend you reach out to your vet, and of course, if you ever are faced with an emergency, we will be here. 

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