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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Don't Forget to Prepare for your Pets in a Disaster

Commuter Survival Kit
Commuter Survival Kit (Photo credit: Annie Mole)
Getting it all together

  • If your pet is small enough, purchase a travel carrier so that you can easily take him/her with you if an evacuation is ordered.
  • Make sure that your pet wears a visible identification tag or is microchipped.
  • Keep pertinent contact information handy... it should include phone numbers for your veterinarian, animal shelters, police and fire departments.
  • Keep a minimum two-week supply of pet food and water in your residence at all times.
  • Keep some of your pet’s favorite treats on hand, too, for those times when he or she gets particularly stressed.
  • Always keep a leash in your vehicle, if you have a dog.
  • Start a "buddy system"; with a neighbor so they can check on your pet during a disaster, in case you aren't home.
  • Remember to comfort and reassure your pet during a disaster, as they become frightened, too.

Your emergency kit

Hey, don’t just stock up those important disaster supplies for yourself, your spouse and children. Your beloved pets need a survival kit, too. Here’s a list of what that kit should include:
  • Pet food (in airtight/waterproof container)
  • Water
  • Any pertinent medications
  • Contact information
  • Written instructions for your pet's care
  • Photo of your pet
  • Small blanket
  • Animal toy
  • If you have a cat, you should also include a small shoebox and a bag of sand for a makeshift litter box

When it's time to leave

There’s a knock at your door The fire department or some other emergency professional is telling you it’s time to evacuate. In all the confusion and excitement, don’t forget to provide a safe exit for your pet, too…whether it’s something as small as a goldfish, as popular as a dog or cat, or as big as a horse! Your plans should already have been made… now all that’s left is to get from Point A to Point B. Remember these recommendations:
  • If you can't actually take your animals with you to a friend’s house or a hotel, transport them to your veterinarian’s boarding facilities or to an accredited pet shelter
  • Before leaving the house, put your pet in a carrying case of some kind, if applicable, because animals will often run off when scared; large animals may have to be transported by trailer
  • Remember to put your pet's emergency kit, including important medical papers, in the car
  • Talk soothingly to your pets throughout the ordeal, to calm their nerves.
  • Remember that government-run human shelters will not allow pets

The more knowledge you have about pet care during a disaster, the better the chance that your pet will survive. Here are some helpful websites that can provide additional information:
Humane Society of the United States
National Association of Professional Pet Sitters
SPCA International
The National Lost Pet Hotline can offer valuable assistance as well. To report a missing pet, call the hotline, at (900) 535-1515. This is a charge call. To report a found animal, call the toll-free hotline number, at (800) 755-8111.
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