If you are like millions of animal owners nationwide, your pet is an important member of your household. Unfortunately, animals are also affected by disaster. The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency such as a fire, flood, or tornado depends largely on emergency planning done today.
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Here are five easy ways to prepare your pet for an emergency:
1) Identify a shelter: Before disaster hits call your local office of emergency management to see if you will be allowed to evacuate with your pets and that there will be shelters that take people and their pets in your area. And just to be safe, track down a pet-friendly safe place for your family and pets. Most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters will need your pet’s medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current.
2) Pack a pet kit: Take pet food, bottled water, medications, veterinary records, cat litter/pan, manual can opener, food dishes, first aid kit and other supplies with you in case they’re not available later. Each pet is unqiue, but each pet needs the basics in case of an emergency.
3) Update your pet’s ID: Make sure identification tags are up-to-date and securely fastened to your pet’s collar. If possible, attach the address and/or phone number of your evacuation site. If your pet gets lost, his tag is his ticket home.
4) Protect your pet during a disaster: Animals have instincts about severe weather changes and will often isolate themselves if they are afraid. Bringing them inside early can stop them from running away. Even if your dogs and cats normally get along, the anxiety of an emergency situation can cause pets to act irrationally. Understanding what to expect during a disaster is crucial.
5) Keep an eye on your pet after an emergency: The behavior of your pets may change after an emergency. Normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive. Watch animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard with access to shelter and water. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and your pet may become confused and lost. Remember to keep taking care of them even after the disaster.
Learn more about how to prepare your pet from the National Preparedness Community here.