Incorporating your pets into disaster preparedness plans

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Preparing pets for natural disaster
Posted by Dr. Nina Mantione on Apr 17 2018

As a pet parent, you're used to planning ahead for your pet, but would you be prepared to evacuate in the case of a disaster? Would you plan to take your pets with you?

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina brought notice to the fact that many people will refuse rescue when their pets are denied access to the same help. Rather than leave a beloved family member behind in rising flood waters, people chose to stay put with their animals and hope for the best. I don’t know about you, but I would have been dragged kicking and screaming from my assortment of canine and feline companions, and even now the thought of it brings tears to my eyes.

The media images and stories of both the people who chose to stay with their pets, and those who were searching frantically after being separated, lead to changes in laws surrounding evacuations during natural disasters. Now pets must be accommodated for in evacuation plans so that people aren’t forced to choose their safety over their pets’. Media attention to natural disasters also reminds us that, while (just like pet insurance) we hope never to have to use it, it is smart to have a plan in place in the event you do.

As the old saying goes “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and in the case of preparing for an evacuation or disaster a few minutes of planning today could be a life saver tomorrow. Planning ahead can save valuable time and confusion. Prepare a checklist of items you may need to bring along in a hurry, including fresh water, identification that includes a cell phone number, several days supply of food, and any medications your pet may require. Remember to include leashes, collars and crates so that your pets can be safely restrained. Make sure that you plan for room in your vehicle for your pets and their gear if you need to flee your home.

For more tips, check out this handy infographic: