MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Hundreds of homeowners across the country are either preparing or recovering from a flood. That makes for a stressful situation for residents and their furry friends, too.
"It's traumatic on pets," said Susan Nelson, clinical associate professor at Kansas State University's Veterinary Health Center. "Pet owners don't always realize the effect a flood can have on their animal's emotional well-being, or even the dangers to their animal."
Nelson has five tips for protecting your pet in case of a flood:
* Have an evacuation plan. If you are in a flash flood warning, do not leave your pet at home. If you have to leave your pet at home, be sure to not leave it tethered or caged, which makes it impossible to move to safety on its own. You may want to run some errands, but keep in mind that while your home might not flood while you are away, the road leading back home might get cut off, leaving your pet stranded and all alone.
* Have a pet emergency kit. Animals need to be properly identified with both a collar and a microchip in case they get lost. The emergency kit should also have a few days worth of food, water and medicine, as well as their vaccination records since they might need to stay in a shelter.
* Reorient your pet when you return back home. Flood waters have probably washed away familiar scents and landmarks for your pet, so it is easier to get lost. Keep your dog on a leash for a few days while outside as it gets reacquainted to its home surroundings.
* Check your home for unwanted guests. Flood waters might have carried in pests like insects, snakes or other unwanted critters, so make sure your home is pest free before letting your pets back inside.
* Don't drink the water. Floodwater may still linger, but it is often contaminated. Don't let your animal drink the water.