Natural disasters are never to be taken lightly. With the after-effects of the tsunami and earthquake that rocked Japan on March 11th it has brought pet owners all over the world to consider their pets safety in the event of a similar situation or a necessary evacuation. Here are some tips from the ASPCA on pet emergency preparedness.
Be prepared BEFORE the emergency:
The time to prepare for an emergency evacuation is now, not while it is happening. No matter how severe the situation, it is better to over-prepare than under-prepare. Here are some tips to minimize evacuation time in emergency situations:
• Make sure your pet can be identified. This means a collar and ID tag at minimum. The tag should contain the pets name, owners name, telephone number, and urgent medical needs. If your pet has a carrier this information should be provided on it as well.
• Know your evacuation route ahead of time. Keep a list of pet-friendly accommodations and boarding options outside of the danger zone.
• Keep an emergency kit with a weeks worth of food and medication along with a leash as close to the exit as possible.
• The ASPCA recommends using a Rescue Alert Sticker in the case of an evacuation. Make sure it is visible as it will allow Rescue Workers to know that pets are inside your home in the case that you aren’t. You can get a copy of the sticker and an emergency kit for free here.
Promote a stress-free and safe transport
In the case of a sudden crisis make sure your pet is being transported in a safe and secure manner. Smaller dogs and cats should be transported in a protective airline approved carrier and larger pets should be transported in a cargo crate or protective harness. If your pet is prone to anxiety, consider using a pet calmer to help ease stress. It is never recommended to sedate your pet.
Arrange a safe place for you and your pet
In the event of an emergency evacuation, make plans to stay in a safe and secure area away from the danger zone. This should go without saying but don’t leave your pet stranded. Don’t assume that your pet will be fine alone in an emergency. Remember if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. If for some reason you cannot take your pet with you, here is a list of alternatives:
• Contact your local animal shelter and see if they provide or know of emergency boarding for your pet.
• Ask your veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding kennels and facilities.
• Ask a friend or a relative outside the evacuated area if they are willing to take your pet in.
For the sake of you and your pets health, we hope you’re never put into an emergency situation. However, being prepared for unforeseeable circumstances may help save you or your pets life.
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