Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? No one likes to think about a disaster striking, but it does happen, and it is much easier to deal with when you are properly prepared. Last month we discussed how to create pet first aid kits. Continuing with that theme, this month we will share a few additional tips on how to be well prepared – for yourself and your pets – when disaster strikes.
1. Familiarize yourself with what types of natural disasters commonly occur in your area. Here in central Minnesota, tornadoes and floods are two of the most common occurrences. House fires and other accidental disasters can happen at unexpected times as well. It’s a good idea to know what to do in each possible scenario.
2. Make plans in advance for an evacuation if the need should arise, and practice the plan to work out all the details. Plan a meeting place in advance. Have essential supplies (including pet food, water dishes, spare litter box, and leashes/carrier) gathered along with your pet first aid kit. A note on cat carriers: We all know how difficult it can be to get a cat into the dreaded carrier, and even more so during a stressful situation. To make your cat feel more comfortable with the carrier, leave the carrier out all the time in an accessible location, keep a soft blanket in the carrier, and feed or give treats in the carrier so your cat views it as a safe and positive place. This will make it much easier to get your cat into the carrier in an emergency situation.
3. Put stickers on your doors/windows to let emergency personnel know how many pets are in the house, in case something happens when you are not home.
4. Keep collars with ID tags on your pets, and consider microchipping. If your pet escapes or becomes lost in a disaster, they are much more likely to be reunited with you if they can be easily identified.
5. If you are evacuated from your home, even if it’s only for a short time, take your pets with you. With many disasters, the time frame for evacuation periods is increased without warning and you may not be able to get to your pets for days or weeks if they are left at home.
Please let us know if you have any questions about being prepared for potential disasters. Hopefully the need never arises, but if it does, it’s a good idea to be ready. Together we can keep your pets safe and healthy!
Credits: AVMA Saving the Whole Family Disaster Preparedness Series
Photo credit: animationsource.org