Violent summer thunderstorms can strike at any time, resulting in a power failure that can last for hours. But if you are at work or traveling, how will you know if your pet is stranded at home with no air conditioning and at risk of heat stroke? Pets are equally vulnerable in the wintertime when icy storms can cause a power failure, leaving them shivering in an unheated house for hours until you get home.
There are a number of strategies concerned pet owners can use to be alerted of power failures in their home. Here are a few suggestions:
- The easiest strategy is to ask a neighbor to call or text you if the power goes out in your neighborhood. But if your neighbor is out for the day or away on vacation, there goes your lifeline! And remember, sometimes a power outage affects only one side of the street or a single house, so your neighbor’s home may have power while yours does not.
- You could arrange for a pet sitter to come by mid-day to feed or walk your pet and you can instruct them to alert you if the power is out when they arrive. But if the outage occurs after their visit, you would never know about it until much later when you got home. And pet sitters can be rather pricey.
- Another option is to check the “power outage map” that many electrical utilities post on their website, but unfortunately that information is rarely neighborhood specific.
A better solution is a device called a power failure alarm that automatically alerts you by phone if there is a power failure at your house. The most basic power failure alarm can call one phone number, but there are many affordable models that will call up to three (or more) different phone numbers to ensure that either you or another family member gets the call.
Many power failure alarms double as temperature alarms and will alert you of high or low temperatures. Some models even allow you to adjust the temperature set point. And some models can also be used to monitor other conditions such as smoke or flooding. Naturally, all power failure alarms have a backup battery so they will continue to operate during a power failure.
If your house doesn’t have a landline phone, no problem! You can connect your power failure alarm to an accessory called a “cellular terminal” which communicates via a cellular signal. If you prefer to receive email alerts to your computer or smart phone, consider an Internet-enabled alarm that provides “anytime, anywhere” access via a web browser or web-enabled mobile phone.
Most pets are affected by temperature extremes and dogs are particularly susceptible to heat stroke, so protect them with a power failure alarm / temperature alarm that will notify you immediately if conditions in your home have changed and your pet is at risk.