With Hurricane Florence fast approaching, it’s important to take care of our families – and that includes our four-legged friends. Even if you’re not in the path of the hurricane, being prepared for a natural disaster or emergency of any kind is always a good idea. I talked with Dr. Staci Cannon with Metro Animal Care and Control about what pet owners should keep on hand.
September is emergency preparedness month for humans and for animals.
First, make sure your pet is micro-chipped. If you’re not sure if your pet is micro-chipped, take them to your local animal shelter or animal control. Most have a chip-scanner and they can quickly check it. Then, make sure the address and contact info registered to that chip is correct. That way, if your furbaby every goes missing, they will have a better shot at coming home to you. Here’s more on checking the chip: https://www.avma.org/Events/pethealth/Pages/Check-the-Chip-Day.aspx
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning, keep a collar on your pet with an ID tag and your contact info.
In case of a fire, get a free rescue alert sticker for your home! The ASPCA offers them for free here. https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack
Put them on the windows in your home, that way emergency responders know there are animals inside that need to be saved.
Have you thought about where they would go if there is an emergency and you can’t keep them? Have a plan in place, a friend or family member who agrees to care for them. It’s also a good idea to make your neighbors aware of your pets. If something happens to your home and you’re not there – your neighbors can step in and help keep your animals safe.
Just as you keep an eye on the weather for you and your family, make sure the conditions are safe for your pet. For example: If you leave your dog outside in a kennel and flash-flooding is in the forecast, bring them inside! If you have an outdoor cat, let them hang out inside during the storm.
In case of a really treacherous forecast, like a hurricane, take a sharpie and write your contact info on your pet’s belly.
It’s also a good idea to have a pet emergency kit packed and ready to go. Dr. Cannon gave me a list of what should go in that kit:
-3-7 days’ worth of food
-Pet feeding dishes and water bowls
-Extra collar or harness as well as an extra leash
-Medical records and medications
-Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make “Lost” posters)
-Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
-Cat litter or paper towels
-A pet first-aid kit
Put everything in a big container and keep it in a cool/dry place. It’s also smart to replace the food every few months, as well.