May 12, 2018 Animal Disaster Preparedness Day
Courtesy of United
Emergency Animal Rescue Service
Keeping Pets Safe During Disasters
Planning ahead is the key to keeping yourself and your pets safe during a disaster. These are some tips that will reduce the risk to the pets in your life.
1. Always keep a collar and a tag on any pets that would normally wear collars. This would include cats that never go outdoors. Make sure you use a breakaway collar in case the collar gets caught on something. If the pet escapes, the collar and tag increases your chances of getting the pet back. Include your phone number and address on the tag. If phones are not working your address is crucial to be reunited. Microchipping or tattooing your pets may be considered as a permanent form of identification. If you are evacuated, it is important to put a separate collar with phone numbers where you will be staying. (During the month of May and June Microchipping will be discounted at Tekonsha Animal Hospital PLLC-a $25 savings).
2. Identify several possible locations where you can take your pets should you be evacuated. This would include kennels, veterinary clinics with boarding space, grooming facilities, dog and cat clubs and training clubs. Consider family and friends and look for hotels/motels that accept pets. Even hotels/motels that do not normally accept pets may make exceptions due to disaster. Red Cross evacuation centers do not allow pets other than Seeing Eye dogs and other recognized service dogs.
3. Start a buddy system with someone in your neighborhood to check on each others pets during a disaster if you are away from home at the time. Exchange veterinarian information and have a permission slip on file at your veterinarian's office that authorizes your “buddy” to get necessary emergency treatment for your pet should you be unable to be reached. If someone watches your pets while you are on vacation, talk with them about a disaster plan.
4. In addition to your regular supply of pet food, have at least a week’s supply of food on hand to be used during a disaster. Store dry food in an airtight/waterproof container. Canned food should have flip tops or be sure to keep a can opener in your disaster supplies. Also include any favorite treats that will soothe your pet during stressful times as well as chew toys for dogs to keep them entertained if they have to be chained or kenneled for long periods of time. Keep them on their regular food and continue to feed your pet at the regular times. This will help decrease the possibility of stress related diarrhea. Have at least a weeks supply of water in storage at all times. Gallon containers are best, but keep them out of direct sun light to discourage algae growth. Rotate this water once a month. Do not let pets drink flood water or any standing water. If there is a boil water warning this includes your pet’s water also.
5. Take several pictures of all your pets and keep them with important papers and insurance information. Store the pictures in resealable plastic bags in case they need to be posted in the rain.
6. Before a disaster strikes, talk to your veterinarian to see if they have a disaster plan. Locate a veterinarian that you can take your pets to in case they need medical attention. Assemble first aid supplies and make sure there are plenty of supplies if needed.
7. Keep plenty of medication for your pet on hand. If it needs to be refrigerated, keep it on ice. The Red Cross often has ice if needed.
8. If you are needing to transport a cat, have their carrier ready to go. A carrier can be used as a home for your cat for an extended period of time if need be. Have a shoe box of litter, food and water dishes.
9. Include a harness or lease for all dogs. In an evacuation situation dogs can get frightened. If they only have a collar around their neck they may be able to slip the collar off their head. A harness will allow you to securely control your dog. A harness may also be useful for a cat. Do not leave a cat unattended with a leash or harness as they could strangle themselves.
10. Have a stake or chain for all dogs. Walls and fences may come down in a disaster situation. Make sure the chain is long enough for the dog to move around, but not too long to avoid your dog from getting tangled or choking itself.
11. If your dog is kept in an outdoor run, make sure the location is where falling debris won’t fall on the run and cause injury.
12. Be sure to comfort pets during disaster. They are frightened too and having you nearby will comfort them. Do not force comforting if your pet is not ready for it. This is especially true for cats, let them come to you when they are ready.
13. Know where animal shelters or animal rescues are in your area. You may need to visit them if your pet is missing.