While no one is immune from the devastation of a natural disaster, preparing before a storm hits is key to keeping everyone in your family – including your pets – safe.
Here are six ideas to keep in mind for your pet as you map out your disaster preparedness plan.
• Have your pet microchipped. In the event of an emergency, natural or otherwise, ensure the return of pets if you’re separated. Collars and ID tags, although important, can break or detach.
Microchips – computerized and scannable implants about the size of a grain of rice—are more foolproof because they’re inserted under your pet’s skin.
• Bring your pets inside at the first sign of danger. Disasters can be disorienting for pets, and they may run away or hurt themselves reacting to loud noises and strange changes to their landscape. Also, rain, flying debris and high winds pose a danger.
• If you have to leave, keep your pet with you. Don’t leave your pet during a natural disaster because they could escape or become exposed to a number of life-threatening hazards. Keep them on a leash or in a pet carrier.
• Determine where you’ll go. Coordinate in advance to stay with friends or family members or find a pet-friendly hotel outside the disaster area, because not all emergency shelters will accept pets.
• Create a pet-friendly resource list. Research a list of veterinarians in the area should your pet need medical care (your regular vet may have some recommendations). Also, figure out which boarding facilities are nearby in case you need to separate from your pet for a time.
• Pack an emergency bag. Pack emergency provisions packed for pets well in advance of a catastrophe in case you have to quickly evacuate your home. Choose an easy-to-carry bag, label it and keep it where everyone in the family can find it quickly.
The bag should include a pet first aid kit, enough food and bottled water for a week (rotate this every couple of months to keep it from going bad) and medications (check periodically to ensure medicines in your emergency bag don’t expire).
Also, pack cleanup supplies, food and water dishes, bags (or litter for cats) for collecting waste, an extra collar and leash, photocopies of medical records, towels, recent photos of your pets and a favorite toy or chewy for comfort.
It’s also a good idea to have a sturdy carrier or crate for each pet.
For facts, tips and fun activities for families from Lucky the TurfMutt, visit TurfMutt.com.