Disaster Preparation For Your Pets
Preparing for disasters in advance is something that all families should do. Families with pets have the added responsibility of making sure that their pets are also prepared for any possible disaster. We all saw the plight of the animals after Hurricane Katrina, and no one wants to see that happen again. With the hurricane season upon us, and tornado alley about to kick into high gear, PetAg thought that it would be a good time to offer some tips on putting together disaster preparedness for your pets.
Perhaps your emergency will only require you to be away from your home for a brief period of time, while other emergencies might require a longer or permanent evacuation. Whatever the case may be, ensuring that you are prepared will make the exodus and establishment of a “base camp” smoother and less disruptive not only on yourselves, but also for your family, including pets.
- Rescue Alert Sticker: These easy-to-use stickers will let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers, and that it includes 1) the types and number of pets in your household; 2) the name of your veterinarian; and 3) your veterinarian’s phone number. If you must evacuate with your pets, and if time allows, write “EVACUATED” across the stickers. Put one on at least one front, back and each side windows, as well as every outward facing door on the home.
- Vet Visit: Visit your vet before travel. This way your vet will be able to assess your pet, make sure that they are up to date on any vaccinations that they require, as well as their heart worm and flea/tick regimens. When travelling to an unknown area, make sure that you are aware of any risks, health or otherwise, that your pet may face while travelling, and ask your vet to prescribe medication accordingly, if he or she feels that it is warranted, such as car sickness medication, or tranquillizers if necessary. On another note, you will most certainly want to take copies of vaccination and rabies records with you.
- Safe Haven: Never leave your pets behind in case of an evacuation. Essentially domestic pets are defenseless and largely unable to fend for themselves after years of being taken care of by their human companions. If for some reason you are unable to retrieve your pet, or take them with you, ensure that either a friend or relative or the local authorities know that you have a pet in your home and will take care of them until you are able to reunite with them. If you are evacuating to a shelter, please make sure ahead of time that your chosen shelter offers pet accommodations. If not, local kennels and such might be able to accommodate you.
- Emergency Travel Kits: It is important to make sure that your pet also has an emergency travel kit including and medications that he or she might need as well as a weekâ€™s supply of their food. An abrupt change in environment is difficult enough for pets to handle. Ensuring that they are not also forced to eat unfamiliar food is important to ensure that they have some level of comfort, and will eat. This is even more important in particularly young or elderly pets. For aging cats and dogs, PetAg DogSure™ and CatSure™ meal replacement products comes in a handy cans which give your pet the food the extra nutrition they need. Your emergency travel kit should also include a few familiar toys and other items (leash, collar, bottled water, blanket, recent photo in case he or she goes missing, and feeding dishes among others) that may provide your pet some comfort in their new home away from home.
This is a two part series, and our next blog will contain even more information to help you have a smooth and easy transition in case of any emergency or evacuation. These trying times are never fun, but with a little preparation, they can be doable.