Do you have a disaster plan for your pets?
Who has not heard of the horrific devastation caused by the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean? What about the devastating effects of the three hurricanes that hit the Florida coast within six weeks? How about the recent mudslides in Southern California? People are generally evacuated, time permitting, when disaster strikes. However, have you ever wondered what happens to the pets of these evacuees?
All too often pets are left behind way to fend for themselves. One of the reasons for this is that temporary shelters operate under the same rules as a restaurant and pets are just not welcome.
Although a Tsunami poses little threat to us in upstate New York, we are at risk for other types of natural disasters. Who knows bad weather better than we do? Should the unthinkable happen, do you have plan in place to keep your pets safe and out of harm's way? The following are some tips for keeping your pets safe should a disaster happen:
- Always keep a collar and tag on any of your pets that should normally wear a collar, or for a more permanent form of identification you may want to consider microchipping or tattooing your pet. Keep recent photographs of all your pets with important papers and insurance information.
- Identify several possible locations where you can take your pet should you be told to evacuate. Potential places include boarding kennels, animal shelters, veterinarians, friends and family, and/or pet friendly hotels and motels.
- Initiate a "buddy system" with a neighbor. Ask this neighbor to check on your pet during a disaster should you be away from home. Give the neighbor permission to evacuate your animal should it be necessary. Offer to do the same for your neighbor.
- Keep a week's supply of pet food and water on hand to be used during a disaster. If your pet takes medication regularly make sure you have enough on hand to care for your pet as your veterinarian's office may not be able to open for sometime following a disaster.
Talk with your veterinarian about a disaster plan and what measures the veterinary clinic have in place to deal with a disaster. Contact your local animal shelter and inquire about their disaster plan. Have enough carriers to evacuate all the cats in your household, and have enough harnesses and leashes for each dog you own.
Most importantly provide comfort and security for your pet during the disaster. Petting and hugging your pet will make you both feel much better.
For more information on disaster planning for your pet visit the United Animal Nations web site at www.uan.org.