Keeping your Pet Safe in a Natural Disaster

Is your household ready should a natural disaster hit our area? Do you and your family have a plan in place should you need to quickly evacuate? Do you have an emergency supply kit ready should you need it? Do you know what you would do to keep your pet safe should a natural disaster strike?

When you think about it, we all tend to make plans every day, we plan our day-to-day tasks, we plan our vacations and we even plan for retirement! Why then, do we so often over-look the very important task of planning for a natural disaster? Well, it’s never fun to think about these things but it IS important because when we take the time to plan ahead for difficult times, it has a way of making them a little less difficult. Planning and being prepared always helps to eliminate stress.

Fortunately, our area is not subject to hurricanes or tornados, but Seattle does sit on a fault line and we have experienced earthquakes in the past. Fires during the summer months are also common in our “neck of the woods” so we’re not completely unfamiliar with natural disasters, which further supports the need to have a plan in place.

STEPS TO KEEPING PETS SAFE

It’s important to keep in mind that the best way to keep your pet safe during a disaster is to keep them with you, so if you evacuate, take your pets too. Here are some other tips for being ready should disaster hit.

  • Make a disaster kit: This should include food and water to last at least 5 days; their leash and harness, kennel, a couple of toys and/or a blanket. If there are medications they take, those should be included along with current photos of them, should you get separated. Also, include items you need for cleaning up after your pet.
  • Make your evacuation plan: It is important that you have travel routes planned that you can take should you need to evacuate your home. As you make these plans, be sure to include a list of hotels that will allow for pets. If your community has shelter areas established for disasters, check to find out which, if any, are pet friendly. If your local relief shelters do not take pets, then search out hotels in the general area that are pet friendly. Sadly, this is how many pets get abandoned during disasters; plans were not made ahead of time and in the panic to keep people safe, pets get forgotten.
  • Make sure your pet is micro-chipped: Make sure that your pet’s ID tags and microchip information are up-to-date. Should you get separated from your pet, current identification is the best way to ensure you will be reunited with your pet.
  • Make arrangements for your pets ahead of time: There are times when disaster hits and families are scattered, kids are at school, parents are at work and pets are at home. It’s important to have a plan in place for this scenario as well; have a trusted neighbor rescue your pet until you can get to them.
  • If you’re staying home: If you have a “safe-room” in your home that provides shelter from a storm, be sure your pet’s kennel, food and water are there as well.

A good rule of thumb when making these types of plans is anything you would do for yourself or your kids, you should do for your pets. Remember, our pets are completely dependent on us for their care and survival and they can feel just as scared and panicked as we do when disaster strikes.

We hope you have found this helpful, however for more information, you can check out these resources:

Pets and Animals

Disaster Preparedness for your Pet

Pet Disaster & Preparedness-The American Red Cross

Pet Natural Disaster Checklist and Emergency Plan

How to Prepare and Protect your Pets from a Natural Disaster

http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/animal_rescue/tips/pets-disaster.html

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