Natural disasters can be extremely disruptive, destructive and dangerous for both humans and their companion animals. During an emergency, having a plan in place can be the difference between weathering a storm or a fur-ightful experience.
Here’s what pet owners can do to keep their four-legged family members safe.
Your pet’s grab-and-go kit
Your grab-and-go kit should contain essential pet supplies for at least 5 days:
Familiar toy or security item
Portable food and water bowls
Leash and collar or harness with ID tags
Flashlight with extra batteries
Waste bags / litter and pan
Also, keep up-to-date information in your kit:
Vaccination records and medical conditions
Contact info for your veterinarian plus an emergency animal hospital
Important: Keep emergency kit contents up to date! Replace food and water every six months, and ensure contacts and records are updated. Always remember to update microchip and pet tags when you move.
Wildfires are a fact of life in much of the American west. Flames can descend on a neighborhood quickly and without warning, leaving little time for residents to gather their pets and escape.
If you live somewhere that is prone to wildfires, you should have an evacuation plan that includes your pets.
Locate nearby emergency shelters and pet-friendly hotels where you can evacuate. Not all emergency shelters accept pets, so you should have a couple of alternative prearranged locations to bring your pets.
Plan with a neighbor who can check on or transport your pet if you’re not home when a wildfire strikes.
Store your pet’s grab-and-go bag near an exit or where it can be quickly accessed if need be.
Hurricanes, tropical storms and nor’easters can cause significant damage from high winds and flooding. Major storms tend to be tracked before they make landfall, so pet owners can prepare and plan for evacuation if needed.
If you live in the path of a major storm, here’s what you can do:
Exercise your pet before the storm to help reduce their anxiety.
Keep all pets inside when a storm is approaching.
Watch for evacuation warnings and have your grab-and-go bag and pet carrier ready.
Keep pets away from flood water which may contain toxic chemicals, downed power lines, sharp objects or undercurrents.
Tornadoes appear with little or no warning—so speed and preparation are super important when it comes to protecting your pets. If you live in a place where tornadoes are common, practice bringing your animals to your “tornado safety location” to iron out your emergency process before a storm approaches.
When a tornado warning is issued, take steps early to ensure you’re ready for anything.
Place your cats in their carriers even if a storm cell seems far away.
Move any caged animals to a tornado-safe location early.
Carry photos of your pets in case you get separated during the storm.
Natural disasters can be scary for both pets and their parents. However, with the right prep, you and your four-legged family members have a good chance of staying safe together.
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