How pet owners can prepare for disasters in advance The need to prepare for natural disasters is never more apparent than right after an especially harsh storm touches down. But disaster preparation should be a proactive endeavor, as taking action before a storm can make confronting the storm that much easier.
Pet owners must give extra thought to disaster preparedness to ensure their pets can make it through harsh storms unscathed. Natural disasters like storms and fires can put pets in jeopardy, so it’s vital that pet owners take the steps necessary to protect their furry friends before such disasters strike.
• Place a rescue alert sticker on your front door or window. Rescue alert stickers alert first responders to the presence of pets in a home. The ASPCA recommends placing the sticker on the front door or window (visit aspca.org to receive a free sticker). Include the types and numbers of pets in the home as well as the name and phone number of your veterinarian.
• Learn about local safe havens. If pet owners must evacuate in the case of a coming storm, their pets must evacuate as well. Some animal shelters provide emergency shelter for pets and/or can arrange for pets to be fostered until their owners can safely return home. It’s vital to conduct this research in advance, as the ASPCA notes that not all shelters can accommodate pets during storms or other emergencies. Knowing which ones do can ensure pets have a safe place to go should disaster strike.
• Stock up on emergency supplies. The ASPCA recommends pet owners plan as if they won’t be allowed to return home for several weeks, even if they suspect their time away will be much shorter. Speak with your vet about what to include in a pet first-aid kit, and be sure to bring at least several days’ worth of canned (pop-top) or dry food. Disposable litter trays, liquid dish soap and disinfectant and an extra collar or harness and extra leash are some additional emergency supplies to pack. A full list of recommended emergency supplies can be found at aspca.org.
• Make sure pets wear collars and tags at all times. Disaster can strike at any time, so it’s vital that pets wear their identification tags and collars at all times. The ASPCA urges pet owners to include pets’ names and any urgent medical needs on the tags. A telephone number where owners can be reached at all hours of the day should be included on tags as well.
• Take location into account. The ASPCA advises pet owners who live in regions prone to certain disasters to find rooms in their homes which can serve as safe havens during storms. Many storms do not require evacuations, but that does not mean pets won’t be frightened. Safe rooms should be clear of windows and be easily accessible and easy to clean.
Disaster preparedness includes strategies to keep pets safe in the wake of storms or other potentially hazardous situations.