With many parts of the nation already devastated by harmful wildfires in Southern California and flooding and tornadoes throughout Arkansas, Alabama, Kansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Iowa and Louisiana, June marks National Pet Preparedness Month. We want you to use National Pet Preparedness Month as a positive reminder to proactively make preparations for your pets should they encounter a natural disaster.
Remembering to include your pet in disaster plans can reduce potential dangers for the pets themselves, pet owners and first responders. Like humans, our pets can become even more stressed or anxious at the onset of a severe weather event, which is why keeping pets calm during the evacuation process is a crucial component to pet disaster preparedness. Not only does a calm pet make for a smoother evacuation, but it also minimizes the chance for your pet to be left behind or lost during a disaster.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when preparing for a possible severe weather event.
o Be sure your pets have a permanent pet ID such as a microchip to help locate them in case they become lost.
o Try to keep a pet as calm as possible during a severe weather event. Use a ThunderShirt, keep their favorite toy around and try not to overexcite them.
o Make a disaster kit with extra pet food, litter, water and accessories (toys, dog bed) to have in case you are left home with no power, or are forced to evacuate your home.
o Keep photographs, medications and medical records for each pet stored in sealed/waterproof plastic bags (and cloud back up if applicable) to bring with you in the wake of a disaster for locating purposes.
o Find out ahead of time if the evacuation destination is pet-friendly. If not, make arrangements for a place to take pets if a disaster hits.
o Make sure that your pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations. If a pet needs to be boarded, kennels typically require proof of current vaccinations.
o Assign a back up caretaker (such as a neighbor or nearby friend) who is comfortable taking the pet should you not be able to return home during a disaster.
Stay safe friends!