SEPTEMBER: National Disaster Preparedness Month
HOW TO KEEP YOUR PETS SAFE IN NATIONAL DISASTERS
September is National Disaster Preparedness Month. Following are tips from the Humane Society of the United States on how to keep your pets safe in the event of a disaster.
Start getting ready now
ID your pet – Make sure that cats and dogs are wearing collars and identification tags that are up to date. Make sure your cell phone is on the tag. You’ll increase your chances of being reunited with pets who get lost by having them microchipped.
Put together a disaster kit
The disaster kit should include:
- Food and water for at least five days for each pet
- Bowls and a manual can opener if you are packing canned pet food
- Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container
- A pet first-aid book
- Cat litter box, litter, litter scoop and garbage bags to collect all your pets’ waste
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses
- Sturdy carriers to transport pets safely
- Current photos of you with your pets and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them in case you and your pets become separated—and to prove that they are yours once you’re reunited
- Written information about your pets’ feeding schedules, medical conditions and behavior issues along with the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in foster care
Find a safe place to stay ahead of time
Before a disaster hits, call your local office of emergency management to see if you will be allowed to evacuate with your pets and verify that there will be shelters in your area that take people and their pets. Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to find out if they accept pets. Make arrangements with friends or relatives. Ask people outside your immediate area if they would be able to shelter you and your pets—or just your pets—if necessary. Consider a kennel or veterinarian’s office.
Plan for your pet in case you’re not home
In case you’re away during a disaster or evacuation order, make arrangements well in advance for someone you trust to take your pets and meet you at a specified location. Be sure the person is comfortable with your pets and your pets are familiar with them. Give your emergency caretaker a key to your home and show them where your pets are likely to be (especially if they hide when they’re nervous) and where your disaster supplies are kept. If you have a pet sitter, they may be able to help. Discuss the possibility well in advance.
If you evacuate, take your pet
If it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. You have no way of knowing how long you’ll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able—or allowed—to go back for your pets. Pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost or killed.
Evacuate early. Don’t wait for a mandatory evacuation order. Some people who have waited to be evacuated by emergency officials have been told to leave their pets behind. The smell of smoke or the sound of high winds or thunder may make your pet more fearful and difficult to load into a crate or carrier. Evacuating before conditions become severe will keep everyone safer and make the process less stressful.
If you have to stay home, do it safely
If your family and pets must wait out a storm or other disaster at home, identify a safe area of your home where you can all stay together. Close off or eliminate unsafe nooks and crannies where frightened cats may try to hide. Move dangerous items such as tools or toxic products that have been stored in the area.
The HSUS provides more information on disaster preparedness including what to do after the disaster.
Volunteer at the Humane Society of Walden
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The Humane Society of Walden is a no-kill, non-profit safe haven dedicated to helping stray and abandoned cats and dogs. Our animal shelter serves the communities of Montgomery, Walden, Maybrook, Crawford, Wawarsing, Shawangunk, and Mamakating, but will not turn away pets from across the country in need.
Humane Society of Walden
2489 Albany Post Road
Walden, New York 12586