Stay Dry When Waters Rise
One of the biggest pet safety issues to worry about during the hurricane aftermath is excess moisture and the trouble that it can create for your furry companion.
“Excess moisture during or immediately after natural disasters like hurricanes and floods can increase the risk of both skin and ear infections in pets from bacteria and yeast/fungus,” says Dr. Jacquelyn Schrock, DVM, Director of Veterinary Quality at Banfield Pet Hospital. Dr. Schrock was on the ground when Hurricane Harvey hit.
In addition, you should also watch out for moist dermatitis, also known as hot spots. “Hot spots can develop not because of being drenched, but because the dog is stressed from the storm and does things like chewing on its paw or scratching one spot a lot,” says Dr. Mary Carlson, DVM, MA, CVA.
Dr. Carlson was a former guest researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and author of the veterinarian’s memoir, Drinking from the Trough. “Hot spots are more common in dogs that have a heavy undercoat, especially in humid environments, where the undercoat tends to stay damp. The skin gets irritated, the dog scratches, the scratches become swollen and infected, and you're on the way to the vet.”
As a first line of defense, Dr. Schrock recommends packing towels for dogs in a waterproof bag and drying off your dog as soon as possible. “Wash your dog with clean water and soothing dog shampoo (chamomile or lavender are good choices) if possible,” Dr. Carlson says. “There are medicated dog shampoos that can help, too.”