Remember, safety first this Christmas time – furs the whole family

Dog wearing Christmas decorations

Make Christmas safe for your pets by making sure they are protected during the wild summer weather. Photo: RSPCA ACT.

We are now in the summer storm season, so remember to think about your pets.

Not only do many of them have better hearing than we have, they also have no idea what all the rumble means, and without proper care they can be damaged or even worse.

RSPCA ACT CEO Michelle Robertson says a little preparation can make all the difference when it comes to keeping your pets safe during summer storms.

“We are very lucky, we have access to technology that tells us when storms are approaching so we can prepare for them and ensure there is a safe place for your animals to go,” she says.

“Some animals get very worried during storms, so if you are at home, you should take them inside, let them be close to their people and do what you can to drown out scary noises.

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“Animals, like humans, need comfort when they feel restless or threatened by unusual noises. It is also important to know your animal well so that you can feel when they are upset, just as animals can feel when their humans are not happy.

“If your pet feels safe, it will help combat any fears they may have.”

If your pet needs to be out in bad weather, it is important to check the area to make sure there are no escape routes. Providing shelter such as a kennel – ideally in a protected area near the house – will help keep your dog safe regardless of the weather.

There are also a number of new products on the market, such as the thunder shirt, which are designed to act as an anti-anxiety wrap similar to wrapping a baby. The tightness hits the animal’s pressure points and makes it feel safe and comforted.

But be warned: the shirts do not work with all animals because each has their own degree of sensitivity.

RSPCA ACT CEO Michelle Robertson with dog

RSPCA ACT CEO Michelle Robertson says a little preparation can ensure your pet’s safety during wild weather. Photo: RSPCA ACT.

Michelle says the most important issue when it comes to animal safety is making sure pets are microchipped.

“It makes it so much easier if they come out to identify them and reunite them with their owners,” she says.

“Unfortunately, we still see many animals that have not been microchipped – almost 40 percent.

“This is something that really worries me.”

Michelle says cats also need to be cared for during storms.

“They will often hide during a storm and may not come out until they feel safe,” she says.

“That’s why we prefer cat containment. Indoor cats will usually find their own hiding places, such as in an igloo or under the bed.”

Wildlife often also needs human help in wild weather. Michelle says people after a storm should look around in their local area for fallen bird nests or stranded animals.

For injured, sick or orphaned animals, contact ACT Wildlife on 0432 300 033, or check the organization’s website.

Michelle says it is important not to try to handle kangaroos, but instead contact Access Canberra on 132 281 if any injured or lost animals are found.

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