In light of Hurricane Harvey and the soon-to-be-here Irma let's explore how a pet owner can prepare for a disaster.
1. Have a Plan:
You should always have a plan prior to any type of emergency. Having a plan is critical to safety and you MUST make time to research, collect items and explain to your family what everyone will do if something dangerous happens.
2. Have a Destination:
Always have a pre-planned destination. If you are ever separated from your loved ones have a pre-planned meeting point. If you are evacuating with your loved ones have a place to go and know the route to get there.
Microchipping is the best way possible to ensure reunification with your pet. While collars and tags are great they can fall off or even injure an animal. Most vet offices offer microchips for around $20. Don't forget to register your microchip when you get home as this will be the only way to find you, the owner.
4. Register your pet:
Some municipal animal shelters offer the ability to pre-register your pet prior to a natural disaster. If you have pre-warning of such an event please contact your local animal control and ask if they have this option, if so, sign up and this will give you a safe place to keep your pet in case you must evacuate.
5. Prepare a Disaster Kit:
Put together essential items that your pet would need in an emergency. A handy tip is to place all of your emergency items in a carrier or crate this way you can just grab the one item and go if needed.
Flashlight (leave batteries out of flashlight until ready to use)
If you are evacuating be sure to pack your pet and your disaster kit. Find out ahead of time what hotels are pet friendly. Also, contact your local humane society to find pet friendly shelters in your area.
If you decide to shelter-in-place mentally prepare yourself for the fact that you may be stuck for longer than you would like and things will get dangerous. Your supplies and your kits need to be in the area that you will be sheltering-in-place, too. Don't have your disaster kit in the attic when you will be in the cellar. Also, put a kiddie pool or a tarp with sod in the area you will be sheltering-in-place so your pet feels some normalcy and will use the bathroom.
8. Comfort Your Pet:
Lastly, comfort your pet. They have no clue what weather patterns are or why sirens go off. Be sure to keep them close to you and try to act as calm as possible. Encourage them to do as many normal things as you can such as playing with their toys or laying on their favorite blanket.
Please stay safe out there and remember to most importantly have a plan!
Please share your disaster/emergency preparedness tips with us in the comments section.
See you on the wild side,