Disaster Preparedness and Your Pet

Floridians are used to preparing for disaster. With a very active hurricane season, most of us are aware of the general preparations that need to be made during storm season. Unfortunately, many pets are forgotten during this time and end up lost or hurt or worse.

Your local emergency management office or animal shelter may have the best information specific to your area. Here are some general precautions you can take to keep your pet safe from harm during a disaster emergency.

Make preparations in advance instead of waiting until the emergency messages are flashing on your local news station. When you put together your emergency plan, make sure that you include a separate plan for your pets.

Do not leave your pets behind if you evacuate!

They will likely not be able to survive on their own. If they do, chances are, they will end up lost. Your pet needs to have an evacuation plan, just like you do.

Your local emergency management office can inform you of any emergency shelters that can take pets. If that is not an option, you should research boarding facilities that may be out of the emergency area. If your plan includes going to a hotel, find out which hotels will accept pets.

Sometimes, your local animal shelter will take boarders on an emergency basis. Check with them before a storm hits. They may have advice about local options that you have not thought of.

When you leave your home, be sure to have a pet survival kit in addition to your own first aid kit. This should include bottled water, food and water bowls, medications, cat pan and litter and any other items you feel your pet will need when he is away from home. You never know how long you will be gone in a situation like this.

Make sure your pets’ ID tags are up to date and securely fastened to a collar. If possible, include the address and number of your evacuation site. If you are separated from your pet during a disaster, this could be your only chance of a reunion.

If you choose not to evacuate, bring your pet inside as soon as you know the storm is coming. Dogs and cats can be fed soft food. This way, they won’t require as much water. Stay close and be ready to comfort animals who may become scared.

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