Are you and your pet ready for a Natural Disaster?
Anzer Animal Hospital
By Cristina Anzures
Once again we face hurricane season, and with some forethought and preparation, you can make the storms easier and safer for you and your pet.
- Make a Plan and be prepared. Decide on a course of action.
- Have a Pet Emergency Kit: Enough water for three days, non-perishable food (include a can opener if needed), a solid carrier, litter, litter box, puppy pads, plastic bags, medicine and medical records for both you and your pet in waterproof containers, extra leash, and a picture of your pet on you in case the worst happens and you get separated. Tags and/or microchipping your pet will also make it easier to recover, should it get lost.
- If you’re staying home to ride out the storm, secure your pet before the storm hits.
- If you’re told to evacuate, you must do so at first warning. Make sure you know ahead of time exactly where all the shelters are and how to get there.
If you leave your pets behind, they may be lost, or injured. Never leave a pet chained outdoors. Plan options include:
- Ask a trusted neighbor to check on your animals.
- Identify shelters. For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets.
- Find pet friendly hotels along your evacuation route and keep a list in your pet’s emergency kit.
- Locate boarding facilities or animal hospitals near your evacuation shelter.
- Consider an out-of-town friend or relative.
- Locate a veterinarian or animal hospital in the area where you may be seeking temporary shelter, in case your pet needs medical care.
- Have your pet microchipped and make sure that you not only keep your address and phone number up-to-date, but that you also include contact info for an emergency contact outside of your immediate area.
- If you are unable to return to your home right away, you may need to board your pet. Find out where pet boarding facilities are located.
- Most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters will need your pet’s medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current.
- Whether you leave early, choose to stay, or are required to evacuate due to the storm’s severity or due to house damage, remember to stay calm. Your pet can sense your emotions, so a calming demeanor can lead to a less-panicked pet.
- After the storm Your home may be a very different place after the emergency is over, and it may be hard for your pets to adjust.
- Don’t allow your pets to roam loose.
- While you assess the damage, keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers inside the house. If your house is damaged, your pets could escape.
- Be patient with your pets after a disaster. Try to get them back into their normal routines as soon as possible. Be ready for behavioral problems caused by the stress of the situation.
- If your community has been flooded, check your home and yard for wild animals who may have sought refuge there.Wildlife can pose a threat to you and your pet. Be ready for everyday emergencies
Disaster plans aren’t only essential for the safety of pets. If you’re responsible for other kinds of animals during natural disasters, disaster plans for feral or outdoor cats, horses and animals on farms can be lifesavers.