How To Keep Your Pets Safe If Your Home Is Water Damaged

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If your home has water damage from a flood, a leak or another issue, you need to ensure your pet is safe while you take steps to mediate the damage or while you wait for a damage contractor to help you. Unfortunately, water damage or flooding can affect animals adversely in a number of ways. Here's what to keep in mind to protect your pet:

1. Water damage to electrical wires could cause fires.

If water has seeped into your walls, it has the potential to damage your electrical wiring. In particular, if your wires aren't properly sheathed in non-conductive plastic, the exposed wires could come into contact with the water. The water then acts as a conductor, and it allows the electricity to jump or arc from one wire to another.

When it's not traveling the way it's designed to do, the electricity is not safe. It could travel to light switches and electrocute the person touching them, or it could start a fire. This is dangerous to everyone in your home, but it's especially dangerous to pets who are often home alone and who cannot open doors (to exit your home) on their own.

Before leaving your dog or cat alone in a water damaged home, assess the state of the damage, and in particular, make sure that is no water damage in your walls, threatening to start a fire. Ideally, you should shut off the power immediately after the flooding occurs, and you should have an electrician look at the wiring before you use it again. The electrician can help you repair the wires, or he or she can shut off the power to those areas until a damage contractor is ready to repair all of your water damage. 

To increase the chance that your pet will be rescued in the event that there is a fire, put a sign or sticker on your home alerting firefighters to the presence of a pet.

2. Mold can make animals sick.

In addition to checking the safety of your electrical wires, also remember to look for the presence of mold in your home. Mold spores float around the air, and when they find a nice wet or damp spot, they land and create more mold. In many cases, mold from water damage is not visible. Rather, it lurks under carpets or between walls, but you can check for the presence of mold with both air and surface tests. You can buy tests and do this on your own, or you can have a damage contractor or mold remediation expert do the tests for you.

If you find mold, you need to take steps to protect your pet. Black mold, in particular, can cause your pet to have respiratory issues, digestive problems and other illnesses. Ideally, you should hire a damage contractor to remove the mold, but you should keep your pet as far away from it as possible in the meantime by putting him in a kennel in a room that does not have mold. Additionally, you should watch your pet for signs of mold sickness such as lethargy, and you should bring him or her to a vet as soon as you notice symptoms.

3. Standing water is potentially very dangerous to pets.

If your home was severely flooded, it may have standing water in it. Pools or puddles of standing water can quickly become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, bacteria and other threats. This increases the chance that your dog or cat will get bitten by a disease-infected mosquito, but if your dog or cat drinks the water, it also increases their chances of coming into contact with unwanted bacteria that may make them very ill.

Use a wet vac to remove all standing water, and contact a damage contractor as soon as possible to help remove the rest of the water in your home.

For more tips on how to protect yourself, your home or your pets from additional harm after your home has been subjected to water damage, contact a damage contractor. 

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5 February 2016

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