Does Your Plan Include Your Pets?
One of the big "aha" moments from the aftermath of hurricane Katrina was the lack of preparedness plans for family pets. Unfortunately, some families did not evacuate, because they didn't have a plan for their pets.
I can't imagine that happening in the Pacific Northwest, with the obvious value we place upon our four-legged family members. However, I also suspect most people haven't thought about it either. Have you?
Did you know that the American Red Cross will only take service animals in their shelters? So, if you had to seek shelter.....what would you do with your pets? In some cases, there will be another shelter located nearby that can house your pet(s). However, there is no guarantee.
A little planning ahead of time will go a long way after an interruption. Check with your veterinarian for recommendations on sheltering, make a list of pet friendly hotels/motels, is there a local kennel nearby or could you make plans within your personal network. Note, if you do have the option to place your pet in a kennel or shelter, you will need to prove that your pets' vaccinations are up to date, so make copies of their medical records and keep them in your disaster kit with your important documents.
Make sure that your pets have their identification on them, at all times. You can provide their name, address and contact information and attach it to their collar and/or consider micro chipping them. If you become separated from your pets, their identification will be critical for reunification purposes.
If we experience a major interruption, we all know that our supply chain will be interrupted. Therefore, it is imperative that we stock up on supplies for our pets beforehand. Here is a list of items to consider:
Assuming your dog is physically able, you may want to invest in a dog backpack like the one shown to the right. So, that you aren't having to do all of the carrying. Being careful not to overload your pet.
After the Interruption
Monitor your pets behavior. Look for signs of aggression, defensiveness and disorientation. If you suspect your animal(s) is experiencing these symptoms seek veterinary care, if available.
The above mentioned tips were more specific to dogs and cats. If you have other types of pets, you may need additional items such as a heat source for reptiles or birds. In any case, take some steps today to ensure that your pets will make it through the interruption with you.