Essential pet advice with vet Jo Gourlay

Although from here on in we may get glorious wall to wall sunshine until autumn (we can but hope!), given the excessive rain we’ve experienced in the past month or so, this article is about flooding.

In the wet weather last month numerous rescues of both domestic pets and farm animals occurred due to flooding and, very sadly, sometimes lives are lost, so it’s worth knowing what to do if the situation may arise.

Like so many things in life, forewarned is forearmed. If you live in an area that is prone to flooding or keep either livestock or horses on land that may do so, it’s vital to have a plan ready for such an event. Make sure you are contactable by anyone looking after your animals or neighbours who may notice water rising, and have a list of contact numbers ready of people who could help you out in an emergency.

You need to have thought about appropriate escape routes in addition to transport for larger animals or carriers for pets. Make sure any livery yard, kennels or cattery you use, if liable to flooding, has a suitable plan set up too.

If there is excessive rainfall then it’s important to remember how quickly water levels can rise and what impact in certain places tides can have to compound the effect. The best number to ring for accurate, up to date advice is Floodline on 0845 9881188 to keep abreast of the situation.

Livestock and horses, where possible, should be moved to higher ground if there is any risk, and pets ideally sent to stay with friends if you have enough warning to do so.

If you are unable to get pets out of the house, then bring them inside and move them upstairs along with their food, bedding and medication. A decent supply of fresh, clean drinking water – ironically – is important as flood water will be unsafe to drink.

It’s a good idea to take a selection of their toys and anything else that may comfort them too. You should also place into a sealed waterproof bag their microchip information, vaccination certificate and a photo just in case they become lost or you need to put them into a cattery or kennels.

Wherever possible, if you have to leave your home, take pets with you. Realistically, in some situations this is not possible as not all emergency accommodation will take pets. In this case, ensure adequate water and food is left for a few days and shut them in an upstairs room with the comforters and bedding.

You should contact the local flood warden and animal rescue organisations and put notes on the doors and, possibly, even an upstairs window, saying pets are left in the property.

If evacuating the property with them, take their medication, food and bedding, and ensure they are adequately restrained by either a carrier or lead. For further pet advice, both the Blue Cross and RSPCA have information about flooding on their websites relating to animals, or general comprehensive advice is available on the SEPA website www.floodlinescotland.org.uk.