By, Katy Cable -TWR
A 4 min. Read
With deadly brush fires devastating the Southwest, this is a perfect time to remind EVERYONE, regardless of where you live to HAVE A DISASTER PLAN!
Waiting until the last minute to have an emergency plan and supplies in place is not only foolish but may be deadly. So, in the midst of this crisis, while it’s fresh on everyone’s minds, I hope each and every one of you will take a few minutes and: MAKE A DISASTER PLAN FOR YOU AND YOUR PETS!
Here are some important tips to keep pets safe in natural disasters and emergencies:
1. HAVE ALL YOUR PETS MICRO-CHIPPED and make sure they are wearing ID collars when home alone. You’ll increase your chances of being reunited with pets who get lost by having them micro-chipped; make sure the micro-chip registration is in your name. I advise having your vet scan it to check its working next time you’re in for a visit. But remember, the Good Samaritan who finds your pet likely won’t be able to scan for a chip, but they will be able to read a basic tag!
Put your cellphone number on your pet’s tag. It may also be a good idea to include the phone number of a friend or relative outside your immediate area in the event you have to evacuate.
2. *PREPARE AN EMERGENCY KIT: Include essentials such as:
🐾2 weeks of clean drinking water & non-perishable food. Store in water-tight containers.
🐾First aid kit (I use this one: https://www.rcpets.com/Pet-Safety-Products/Pet-First-Aid-Kit/Product.aspx
🐾Any medication your pet takes plus first-aid meds: (antacid/sm can pumpkin/Benadryl/baby aspirin)
🐾Crate labeled with photo of pet and ER contact #
🐾Comfort toys/in crate
🐾Booties or baby socks
🐾Puppy pads/poop bags
3. BEFORE DISASTER STRIKES:
Make sure there’s a sign on your door for emergency personnel that you own pets and where they typically hide in the house if scared.
If you have a pet-sitter, or neighbor entrust then with a key and discuss the possibility of looking out for your pets in the event of an emergency. Make a plan with a specific meeting spot to retrieve your pets should there be an emergency.
Ask friends/relatives outside your immediate area if they would be able to shelter you and your pets-or just your pets-if necessary. If you have more than one pet, you may need to arrange to house them at separate locations.
Prior to a disaster, check with hotels and motels outside your immediate area to find out if they accept pets. Ask about any restrictions on number, size and species. Inquire if a “no pet” policy would be waived due to an emergency. Keep a list of animal-friendly places handy, and call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to leave your home.
Contact your veterinarian’s office. Ask for referrals or services in outside areas. Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinary offices that might be able to shelter animals in disaster emergencies (make sure to include their 24-hour telephone numbers.)
Check with your local animal shelter. Some shelters may be able to provide foster care or shelter for pets in an emergency. But keep in mind that shelters have limited resources and are likely to be stretched during a local emergency.
I highly recommend playing it SAFE! If there is a threat- Evacuate early. Don’t wait for a mandatory evacuation order. Some people who have waited had to be evacuated by emergency officials and their pets were often left behind. The smell of smoke, rapidly rising water, or the sound of high winds or thunder may make your pet more fearful and difficult to locate or load into a crate or carrier. Evacuating before conditions become severe will keep everyone safer and make the process much less stressful.
IF YOU MUST EVACUATE, TAKE YOUR PET: This goes without saying. 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 and retrieve your pets. Pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost or killed. If you cannot get your pet, do not leave them chained, tied up or locked in a crate. At least give them the opportunity to escape.
4. IF YOU STAY HOME, PLAY IT SAFE: If your family and pets must wait out a storm or other disaster at home, identify a safe area of where you can all congregate.
- Close off or eliminate unsafe nooks and crannies where frightened cats and dogs may try to hide or escape.
- Shut off gas. Stay clear of live wires.
- Move dangerous items such as tools, toxic products and glass objects that have been stored in the area.
- Bring your pets indoors as soon as local authorities say trouble is on the way. Keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers, -WHILE IN YOUR COMPANY and make sure they are wearing identification and/or fluorescent harness/collars/life-jackets.
- If you have a room you can designate as a “safe room,” put your emergency supplies in that room in advance, including your pet’s crate and supplies. Have any medications and a supply of pet food and water inside watertight containers, along with your other emergency supplies. If there is an open fireplace, vent, pet door or similar opening in the house, close it off with plastic sheeting and strong tape.
- Listen to the radio periodically, and don’t come out until you know it’s safe.
5. AFTER THE DISASTER Your home may be a very different place and it may be hard for your pets to adjust.
- Don’t allow your pets to roam loose. Familiar landmarks and smells might be gone, and your pet will probably be disoriented. Pets can easily get lost in such situations. Plus there may be broken glass, live electrical wires and other hazards.
- Keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers inside the house, while you asses the damage. If your house is damaged, your pets could escape.
- Be patient with your pets after a disaster. Try to get them back into their normal routines as soon as possible. Be ready for behavioral problems caused by the stress of the situation. If these problems persist, or if your pet seems to be having any health problems, talk to your veterinarian.
- If your community has been flooded, check your home and yard for wild animals who may have sought refuge there. Wildlife can pose a threat to you and your pet.
BE PREPARED FOR EVERYDAY EMERGENCIES:
More likely than a category 5 hurricane or F5 tornado, are everyday emergencies such as sweltering heat-waves, severe winter storms, and brush fires. There may be times that you can’t get home to take care of your pets. A sudden brush fire or icy roads may trap you away from home overnight, or an accident may send you to the hospital. But you can make sure your pets get the care they need by making arrangements NOW :
- Find a trusted neighbor, friend or family member and give them a key. Make sure this backup caretaker is comfortable and familiar with your pets (and vice versa).
- Make sure your backup caretaker knows your pets’ feeding and medication schedule, whereabouts and habits.
- If you use a pet-sitting service, find out in advance if they will be able to help in case of an emergency.
Just an hour or two in the sweltering heat can be life-threatening. If you stay at home during a summer power outage, check your local emergency center for pet-friendly cooling centers in your area. Keep a cooler filled with ice and water handy if sweltering temperatures are in the forecast. If you cannot leave, during a power/AC outage, set-up a cool zone in a bathroom where pets can sit in a tub filled with a few inches of cool water. If you have a full tank of gas, you can drive around in an air-conditioned car. (Do not for any reason leave a pet in a car unattended with temperatures over 70 degrees.)
Don’t be fooled by your pets’ fur coats; it isn’t safe to leave them in an unheated house. Paws need protection from freezing ice and snow so have jackets, booties and blankets on hand should you lose power in your home.
REMEMBER plans aren’t only essential for the safety of pets. If you’re responsible for other animals, make sure you have disaster plans for them as well. That would include feral or outdoor cats, horses and/or other farm animals.
I hope if an emergency or disaster strikes, these tips will protect both you and your beloved pets! Let’s keep our friends in the midst of these devastating fires in our thoughts and prayers 🙏🏻🙏🏻💕
*RC Pets has wonderful safety/outdoor/
products that I use. I encourage you to check out their website and entire product line: https://www.rcpets.com/
to donate to relief efforts visit:
🐾Katy Cable is a former actress appearing in “Back To The Future” and starring in the TV series: “Safe At Home” & “ Fired Up!” In addition to her dog health & lifestyle blog/vlog: The Weekly Runt, (https://www.weeklyrunt.com/) she’s a contributing writer to numerous publications including Thrive Global, & The Huffington Post. Cable lives at the beach with her husband, Rick and her rescue Pug, Olive.🐾
Originally published at https://www.weeklyrunt.com.