September is National Disaster Preparedness Month. We want to make sure you are educated on how to prepare yourself and your animals in case of catastrophe. Remember, during a disaster what’s good for you is good for your pet, so get them ready today. If you leave your pets behind, they may be lost, injured, or worse. Never leave a pet chained outdoors. Plan suggestions include:
- Create a buddy system in case you’re not home. 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.
- Locate a veterinarian or animal hospital in the area where you may be seeking temporary shelter, in case your pet needs medical care. Add the contact information to your emergency kit.
- 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.
- Call your local emergency management office, animal shelter or animal control office to get advice and information.
- Most boarding kennels, veterinarians, and animal shelters will need your pet’s medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current.
- If you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home, there are some precautions you must take, but remember that leaving your pet at home alone can place your animal in great danger.
- Desensitize your pets to their carriers by making it a comfortable place. Practice removing your cat from his/her hiding spot quickly. Know where your pet may hide when stressed. This may help ease the stress of your pet during a disaster, as well as make things go quicker and more efficiently for yourself.
- Have your family practice evacuating with your pets so everyone knows what to take, where to find the pets, and where to meet.
Precautions for Leaving Animals at Home:
- Get a rescue sticker alert. This sticker will let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers and that it includes the types and number of pets in your home as well as the name and number of your veterinarian. If you must evacuate with your pets, and if time allows, write “Evacuated” across the stickers. Your local pet supply store may sell stickers or you can order online.
- In the event of flooding, make sure your animals have access to the highest location in your home or highest ground outside. Do not tie animals up or confine to small spaces.
- Make sure that cats and dogs are wearing identification tags and are microchipped in case they become lost.
- Close off or eliminate unsafe nooks and crannies where frightened cats may try to hide.
- Move dangerous items such as tools or toxic products that have been stored in the area.
- If tornados are possible, make sure all pets are secure in a room with no outside walls, just like people. If you have a room you can designate as a “safe room”, put your emergency supplies in that room in advance, including pet supplies, any medications, food, and water. If there is an open fireplace, vent, pet door, or similar opening in the house, close it off with plastic sheeting and strong tape.
- If electricity goes out, make sure your pet has plenty of bedding in a high place that they have access to.
After the Disaster:
- Don’t allow your pets to roam loose. Familiar landmarks and smells might be gone, and your pet will probably be disoriented.
- 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 these problems become severe or persist, or if your pet seems to be having health problems, contact your veterinarian.
- If your community has been flooded, check your home and yard for wild animals who may have sought shelter there.
Tips for Large Animals:
If you have large animals such as horses, cattle, sheep, goats, or pigs on your property, be sure to prepare before a disaster.
- Ensure all animals have some form of identification.
- Evacuate animals whenever possible. Map out primary and secondary routes in advance.
- Make available vehicles and trailers needed for transporting and supporting each type of animal. Also make available experienced handlers and drivers.
- Ensure destinations have food, water, veterinary care, and handling equipment.
- If evacuation is not possible, animal owners must decide whether to move large animals to shelter or turn them outside.
Tips for Birds and Reptiles:
- Birds should be transported in a secure travel cage or carrier.
- In cold weather, make certain you have a blanket over your pet’s cage. This may also help reduce the stress of traveling.
- In warm weather, carry a spray bottle to periodically moisten your bird’s feathers.
- Have recent photos available and keep your bird’s leg bands on for identification.
- Keep the carrier in as quiet an area as possible.
- It is particularly imperative that birds eat on a daily basis, so purchase a timed feeder. If you need to leave your bird unexpectedly, the feeder will ensure his daily feeding schedule.
- A snake may be transported in a pillowcase, but you should have permanent and secure housing for him when you reach a safe place.
- Take a sturdy bowl that is large for your pet to soak in. It’s also a good idea to bring along a heating pad or other warming devise, such as a hot water bottle.
- Lizards can be transported like birds.
- Small animals, such as hamsters, gerbils, mice, and guinea pigs, should be transported in secure carriers with bedding materials, food, and food bowls. Make sure to keep salt licks, extra water bottles, food, small hide box or tube, and at least a week’s worth of bedding.
Build A Kit:
Make sure to pack at least a three day supply of water and food in an airtight, waterproof container. Take medicines and medical records, as well as important documents such as registration information, adoption papers, and vaccination documents. Bring a first aid kit supplied with cotton bandage rolls, bandage scissors, antibiotic ointment, flea and tick prevention, latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol, and saline solution. Collar or harness with ID tag, rabies tag, and a leash. Take a crate or pet carrier, as well as litter boxes for cats. A picture of you and your pet together can help if you become separated. Bringing familiar items, such as treats, toys, and bedding can help reduce stress for your pet. A cat requires 2 to 4 ounces of fresh water daily. A dog will need 8.5-17 oz of water per 10 pounds per day. The ASPCA has a free mobile app that allows you to access critical advice on what to do even if there is no data connectivity.
If you have any questions, please call us at 706-629-5060 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate your preparedness and we know your animals do as well! Have a great and safe September!