RSPCA issues animal safety advice for bad weather after week of floods

The RSPCA has urged pet owners to ensure safety of animals caught up in floods after the charity fielded more than 100 calls over the week of November 7-14.
The RSPCA has urged pet owners to ensure safety of animals caught up in floods after the charity fielded more than 100 calls over the week of November 7-14.

The RSPCA is urging pet owners to ensure their animals are safe ahead of any potential heavy weather, after a number of large-scale rescue operations to help horses, pets and wildlife last week.

The charity receive 108 reports of flooding incidents involving animals in the seven days after the heavy rains of November 7.

An RSPCA spokesperson said: “Our staff have been incredibly busy over the last week helping in communities that have been affected by the flooding.

“Our officers and specialist water rescue teams have been helping people and animals caught up in the floods and have been providing a support service to the emergency services.

They added: “We have also been deploying teams to check on animals in some of the worst-hit areas of Northamptonshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire.

The RSPCA has an experienced team of around 60 officers who are trained to provide assistance to communities affected by flooding.

They are equipped to work in fast water and contaminated water on operations to rescue both people and animals.

The RSPCA has reissued its safety advice to help animal owners be prepared for the future.

In case of flooding, have an escape route planned and keep contact details of people who can help you move your animals in an emergency.

Move livestock and horses to high ground and ensure you have emergency feed and water supplies. If you have horses or livestock in a field, attach your contact details to gates so you can be contacted.

Bring small animals inside and, if possible, upstairs, and move food, bedding etc somewhere dry.

Make sure you have suitable carriers available for small animals and keep a supply of food in case of evacuation. Put important documents in sealed bag along with photo of pet in case they get lost.

If you have to leave your animals behind, leave them inside an upstairs room with plenty of food and water.

Leave notices on the outside doors to say there are animals inside and contact the RSPCA or your local flood warden immediately to arrange rescue.

With the likelihood of winter bringing snow and freezing temperatures in the coming weeks, keep a close eye on rabbits, guinea pigs and other outdoor pets, and give them extra bedding and keep hutches insulated with special covers. Consider moving their hutch inside or into an outhouse, shed or unused garage if possible.

Ensure cats have constant access to a warm, inside area. If your dog is elderly or sick keep them warm with a special coat or jumper for out on walks.

Keep your dog away from frozen ponds, lakes or rivers, and make sure their paws do not get clogged with snow.

Protect aviaries from the cold and provide extra bedding and extra food;

Check your fish pond every day and, if frozen over, place a saucepan of hot water on the surface to gently melt a hole in the ice.

Ensure horses and livestock have adequate shelter to escape adverse weather and access to dry standing, give extra feed and ensure water troughs and buckets are clear of ice;

Waterproof rugs can give horses added protection from the snow and regularly check their hooves for any problems;

Wildlife can struggle in the snow so to help them you could leave out extra food and shallow dishes of water.

For more flood advice relating to small pets, horses and livestock, go to www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/seasonal/floods.

For all of our seasonal winter advice, visit www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/seasonal/winter.

Anyone who is concerned for the welfare of their own animals or any animals they see caught up in the floods should contact the RSPCA 24-hour emergency hotline on 0300 1234999.

In the event of flooding, keep up to date by calling Floodline on 0845 9881188, or visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood.