The valley is being hit by gusty winds. Sand drifts, and flying debris are a common sight in these conditions. While most avoid of us avoid certain areas during wind events, many forget high winds are dangerous for pets too.
"Your pet wouldn’t electively go out walking in a wind storm," says Kat Smith with the Palm Springs Animal Shelter adding that it’s a good idea to keep your pet indoors during hazardous weather, "a normal animal in the wild if there’s windy conditions, or any sort of storm approaching, they’re going to seek shelter and refuge and that’s what your should allow your pet to do."
Pets are closer to the ground, making them more vulnerable to sand and debris that get kicked up by wind so if you get caught up in a wind storm she says it’s important to check your pet and their surroundings when you get home, "Put a cold wet compress on your pets eyes, make sure that they’re cleaned out … make sure that we put a moist towelette through our dog’s ears particularly shepherds, that have the kind of erect ears that you see … the winds can stir up things like palm frowns etc things that will blow into our backyard, so just make sure you’re going through your backyard checking for hazardous materials."
But, she says it’s sometimes things we can’t see that cause trouble so if they’re scratching a lot or have red eyes you may need to call your vet, "Pets particularly dogs have allergies just like humans so it’s not just the fact that the dust is blowing in their eyes … there’s pollen there’s all kinds of things that bloom in the desert."
She says if you must go for a walk, keep it short, limited and know areas to avoid in case the weather gets worse, "Make sure that you’re considering where you’re going if we get rain … make sure your pet is on a leash with you and avoid flash flood areas."
And finally, severe weather can be scary, a time many pets run away, "If you notice that they’re fearful because the winds make a lot of noises, …or thunder … turn on a radio and make sure that all their escape routes are blocked, keep an eye on them."
Smith also says it’s also important to make sure you’re a good neighbor and keep an eye out for other pets near your home, if you see them in distress, call the owner and make sure they know their pet is outside, or if they’re not home and you can’t reach them, call animal control.