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Planning for disaster with pets

 by lucy on 09 Feb 2017 |
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We all have a plan to keep our families safe when a hurricane, tornado or flood hits home, but making a plan for your pet is equally important when preparing for disaster. Thinking ahead not only helps keep you and your furry companion safe, but increases the chances you and your pet will be reunited if you’re separated during a disaster.
 
One of the best ways to prepare for an emergency is to ID your pet. Four-legged friends and their owners can be separated for any number of reasons during a disaster, and outfitting your pet proper identification can make a huge difference in your chances for reuniting. Microchips are a great way to do this, and cost only around $45 at your local veterinarian’s office. Collars with tags, including your current contact information, are also useful when it comes to finding a pet. Be sure to keep your pet’s microchip registration up-to-date and include emergency contact information for family or friends outside of your immediate area in case you cannot be reached.
 
After ensuring Fido or Kitty can be easily identified, finding a pet-friendly place to stay during evacuation is key to planning for an emergency. Look up out-of-area hotels that accept pets or pre-arrange to stay with a friend or relative who doesn’t mind sharing space with your furry friend. Never leave your dog or cat behind if you evacuate. If, however, you have to leave Fido or Kitty, ensure you have a Rescue Alert sticker placed somewhere easily visible on the outside of your house to alert rescue workers to watch out for your animal. The ASPCA provides these stickers free at https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack.

Animals often sense impending danger before we do, so bring outdoor pets inside as soon as you know a storm will hit. This can stop your companion from running away and will ensure he stays safe throughout the storm. Stressed-out pets can act out of character, so separate your dogs from cats and any other pets, if possible. Create an emergency kit for each of your pets, including stocks of items such as food, fresh water, any medications your pet takes, a pet first aid kit, temporary ID tags and a carrier or leash for each animal. You may also want to keep a copy of your pet’s vaccination records and a photo of you with your pet in case you need to prove ownership or make “lost pet” fliers after the disaster. Experts recommend keeping enough stocks to last your pet one week in case of an emergency.
 
Make sure you talk to your neighbors and designate someone willing care for your dog or cat if you’re unable to do so yourself when disaster strikes. This person should have a key to your home and, ideally, be familiar with your pets. Remember, different areas are prone to different types of disasters, so research which are most likely to strike your home and plan accordingly for your and your four-legged friend.

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