One of the important things learned from natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina is the need to include your pets in the family’s emergency disaster plan. Images of homeowners who would not evacuate their homes because they did not want to leave a pet behind and those of abandoned pets still cause animal lovers and pet owners to cringe and wish they could have done something to help. The time to help protect your pets is now, before a disaster happens.
Protecting Your Pet When Disaster Strikes
When making your disaster plan, keep the following in mind when it comes to your animal companion:
- Make plans to evacuate your pet. During a disaster, you may need to evacuate your home. Plan where you would take your pet because leaving them behind could result in injuries, your pet running away or death.
- Know what facilities could take your pet during a disaster. Call your area animal shelters and kennels to see if they board animals during a disaster. See if any hotels you may stay in if you evacuate accept pets. Additionally, see which friends would be willing to take care of your pet until your home is safe again.
- Pack pet supplies. Just like your family, your petwill need food and water during a disaster. In your emergency disaster kit, remember to keep your pet’s medications, leash, the vet’s phone number, a first aid kit, food and water bowls, can opener and litter box (if appropriate). Pets of the non-furry variety may need different supplies during a disaster, such as cages or perches or heating pads, so keep this in mind. Additionally, once you have determined where your family may evacuate to during a disaster, know the phone numbers of area veterinarians in the event you cannot access yours.