Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Preparing for Disasters with Pets

Every year natural disasters destroy homes, cause the evacuation of residents and result in billions of dollars in property damage. Whether you live in Tornado Alley, along the Atlantic coast or in the Rocky Mountains, you need to prepare and have a plan in place to keep your family and pets safe from natural disasters. July 15 has been recognized as Pet Fire Safety Day by the National Volunteer Fire Council and helps raise awareness of pet needs during a fire. Pet Health Market has compiled a checklist of tips that apply to any disaster, including fires, that require fast evacuation from home.

Make sure you have a plan in place for each one of your pets, so when an emergency arrives you can remain as calm as possible. Understand that dogs, cats, birds and other animals require different types of care during a disaster. At the first sign of a natural disaster gather your family and pets in preparation for the event.  Each animal should have a disaster kit already packed that includes all the necessary supplies for them to live away from home if you are to be evacuated. For dogs and cats the following supplies are recommended for the disaster kit:

Dog & Cat Disaster Kit contents:
•    Animal carriers/cages
•    Pet medication and vet records
•    2 week supply of food & water
•    Favorite toy & blanket
•    Grooming/sanitation supplies
•    Litter/newspaper/plastic clean up bags
•    Leash

Bird Disaster Kit:
•    Always use cage for safety
•    Keep cage in quiet space to reduce stress
•    Cage blanket in cold climate
•    Spray bottle in hot climate
•    Newspaper for cage sanitation

During an evacuation your pet will be unfamiliar with their surroundings making identification tags a must. Loud noises, high winds and smoke can frighten pets, and they may instinctually try to escape from danger.  It’s essential that each pet has identification tags with the owner’s up-to-date contact information including name, phone number and urgent medical needs of the pet. Pet tattoos and micro-chipping takes this rule a step further and allows your pet to be identified if the collar is removed.  Up to date pictures and ownership records are also a good idea should someone challenge ownership of a pet that has run away.

Dogs and cats may be especially susceptible to infectious disease following natural disasters and before cleanup is complete. By keeping pets up to date on all vaccinations you’ll ensure your pet’s health following an emergency. Pet Health Market hopes you take these tips seriously and are prepared should an emergency require a fast evacuation of your family and pets.

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