Drs. Oz & Roizen's Tip of the Day: Make your pet feel safe in bad weather

Statesman wire servicesJune 27, 2013 

After Hurricane Sandy, a disheveled guy with a parrot on his shoulder walks into a bar. "Where'd you find him?" asks the bartender. "Wandering around Brooklyn," answers the parrot.

With the summer storm season in full swing, you need to think about protecting your pets physically and emotionally - they may not be quite as resourceful as that parrot! So here are some tips on how to safeguard your bird, dog, cat or other animal before and during a potential disaster.

If appropriate (it's not so good for geckos), implant them with a microchip so that they can be identified if you're separated. And carry a photo of you and your pet for fast ID if it becomes necessary.

Guard against separation by having a cage in your shelter (either your basement or at another location), so the animal can ride out the storm securely. Place a piece of your clothing (for your scent) into the crate - particularly important if you board them.

Help reduce anxiety triggered by noise, wind, thunder and lightning (it's terrifying for many dogs, and up to one fourth of all cats). Ask your vet about tranquilizers. For dogs: If you don't want to medicate your pup, wrap a snug-fitting shirt or Ace bandage around the shoulders and chest, or get what's called a "thundershirt." Pressure around the chest and shoulders of a dog eases tension.

When your pet cannot go outside, having litter boxes, gloves and plastic bags in your shelter area will help keep everyone happier.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate.

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