The summer months offer many great things, but for many parts of the country, it also brings the threat of hurricanes and other natural disasters.
June 13, 2011 — Depending on where one lives in the country, hurricane season begins as early as May 15th and ends as late as November 30th. During these months, it’s important for everyone to be prepared in case of a natural disaster, and for pet owners, that means keeping the pet’s safety and needs in mind as well.
Trupanion, the nation’s fastest-growing pet insurance provider, recommends the following five tips for keeping pets safe during a natural disaster:
- Take a Pet First Aid and CPR Class. If your pet becomes injured, it is important to act quickly and effectively to control the damage and get away from the dangerous area. A simple first aid and CPR class can teach you these skills.
- Keep Your Pets Healthy. There are many reasons to keep your pets up-to-date on all vaccinations and yearly checkups. For instance, hotels and other pet-friendly businesses will require proof of all immunizations before entry, and pets will be much stronger and able to handle stressful situations if in the best physical condition possible.
- Develop an Evacuation Plan. Identify which roads out of your neighborhood will be the easiest to navigate in case of an evacuation, and have a couple confirmed pet-friendly locations close to your home where you are able to stay if needed. If the homes of friends and family are not an option, have a list of pet-friendly hotels or shelters located nearby.
- Prepare a Disaster Kit. Keep an extra supply of everything your pet needs on a daily basis in a kit that can be easily picked up and thrown in the car during an evacuation. Items for the kit include:
- A leash and collar with ID tag
- Copies of all immunization records
- Pet insurance information
- Food and treats with portable food bowl
- Bottled water and portable water bowl
- Pet waste bags and/or litter box
- A current photo and description of the pet in case the pet becomes lost
- Information about the pet’s schedule (feeding, medication, special needs) in print form, in case the pet needs to be left somewhere without the owners
- Practice. When disaster strikes, the stress level will be high and your pets will sense that. Practice your evacuation plan once a month during the year to get your pets used to the schedule of events. When the time comes to implement the plan, your pet will at least have an idea of what is expected and will be easier to control.
It’s a misconception that pets will be able to take care of themselves and survive on their own when danger strikes. The reality is that pets rely on their owners to keep them safe. By following the five steps above, pet owners can do just that – keep their pets safe and secure, even in times of natural disaster.