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Thursday, March 7, 2013

When Disaster Strikes

Although we always want to believe it will never happen to us, when disaster strikes it is best to be prepared. It is important for pet owners to be prepared for natural disasters so that they and their animals make it through alive and well. FEMA has outlined several steps that all pet owners should be aware of when and if they need to evacuate their homes in a hurry.
 
  1. FEMA encourages all pet owners not to leave their pets behind as there is no way to predict how long you will be away, and pets do not survive well on their own in these scenarios.
  2. Many human shelters will not accept pets when there is an evacuation, and you need to be prepared for this in advance. Also consider that if you are evacuated and you have a local boarding facility or your veterinarian is in the same neighborhood, they too might be evacuated. If they do accept your pets, ask them if they are evacuated, what is their plan, and where they will go so you will know where the pets have been taken can worry a little less over their well-being.
  3. Create a pet survival kit that includes an extra leash and collar (with an extra set of ID tags on the collar), bowls, cat pan, and litter, and bottled water, and pet food with a manual can opener if the food is canned. You should also take up-to-date medical records including vaccine history, a recent photo of your pet, and any medications your pet may be taking. While ID tags on the collars are good identification systems, also consider having your pet microchipped and recorded with the microchip company. Keep a copy of the microchip certificate in your pet survival kit.
  4. What if disaster or an immediate evacuation strikes when you are not at home? Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends, and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Consider creating a phone list of pet-friendly hotels and facilities as well as identify pet-friendly shelters in your region. Share all of this with your neighbors and have a phone tree setup for contacting each other and identifying where you will meet.
Pre-planning and practicing is always helpful for those “what if” scenarios and can help make a very stressful situation less traumatic for all.
For more information, visit http://www.ready.gov/caring-animals
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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