Being prepared for a hurricane or any other natural disaster is important not only for your family but also for your pets. The FEMA pets act outlines concerns and solutions for pet safety during an emergency.
First, determine what natural disasters may be likely to occur in your area. If you live in South Florida, hurricane season starts at the beginning of June and ends after November. Next, start thinking ahead to what your family will need in case of a hurricane or any other natural disaster. Remember to include your pets in the planning. What is good for your family is good for your pet. Many times evacuation is necessary to keep everyone safe.
- 1. Set up a buddy system with a friend or a neighbor. If you aren't home, then there is someone in place to check on your pets.
- 2. Find pet-friendly shelters when you make up your evacuation plan. Many emergency shelters do not allow pets due to health safety reasons. You should also find pet-friendly hotels along your evacuation route and keep it in your pet's emergency kit. Websites like bringfido.com can help you locate hotels and services that are pet-friendly.
- 3. Locate any boarding facilities and animal hospitals near your shelter.
- 4. Make sure your pet is microchipped. This is important because if you and your pet are separated, then recovery will be more likely with a microchip than without one.
- 5. Rabies tag and other medical information should be on hand in case your pet needs medical attention. The rabies tag will immediately let the veterinarian know in the case of emergency pet help that your pet is already vaccinated.
Along with your pet's chip, there are many programs offered by pets stores to help you find your missing pet.
Make Up Disaster Supplies and Travelling Kits
Evacuation may happen as part of the disaster response. Be prepared by making up kits for the necessities of your pets. In your pet kit be sure to include:
- 3 days food supply per pet (replace food every two weeks)
- 3 days water supply per pet
- Medicines and medical records.
- First aid kit which should include bandages, flea and tick treatments, ringworm treatments, antibiotics, scissors, rubbing alcohol, saline solutions, and latex gloves.
- Collar and harness with all necessary tags attached.
- Items for sanitation such as litter and litter box, newspapers, plastic bags, paper towels and bleach.
- Items familiar with your pets such as favorite toys and blankets.
- Pet carrier or crate to keep pet confined.
- A picture of your pets and you in case you get separated.
During The Emergency
During a hurricane or any natural disaster, it is important for you to keep calm. It is also important for your pet to remain as calm as possible. In order to deal with your pet's anxiety, consider having some anxiety-fighting products at the ready. Some products may require a prescription from the veterinarian, and other methods are homeopathic, such as the dog anti-anxiety shirts offered on Thundershirt.com available in our store for just $40.
There are many medications to help ward off anxiety in your pet. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you which one might be best for you. Most animal hospitals such as Pet Express offer an array of options including Xanax, Trazodone, and Trilostane. Always consult your veterinarian for appropriate dosage for your pet.
2. Anti-anxiety Accessories
One popular anxiety relief product is shirts for dogs. They are snug enough to give them a feeling of safety which lowers anxiety. It works on the same principle as swaddling an infant. This is a good option for a non-pharmaceutical and easy to use solution for pet anxiety. The Kong Company is another good resource for the anti-anxiety shirt for dogs.
If your pet only tends to get mildly anxious, then this therapy may be a good choice. It is a natural calmer derived from the same hormone nursing canine mothers release to their puppies while lactating. This can be stocked ahead in a spray or a collar for ease of use during an emergency.
After the Disaster
After the emergency, your home and surrounding area may be a very different place.
- Remember due to the damage sustained that many of the familiar smells and landmarks your pet was used to may be gone. Do not let them roam loose as your pet may become disoriented and get lost.
- If your home is damaged, be aware that your pets could escape. Keep them on a leash or in their carriers until your home is repaired enough to keep them inside safely.
- Be patient with your pets. After a disaster, it will take a while for your pets to settle down. They may exhibit behavioral problems such as irritation and urinate frequently. Getting them back into their normal routines as quickly as possible will help them to deal with the stress caused by the disaster. If you think your pet has any ongoing health problems, then contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
- Check for unusual wildlife in your yard and residential area. After a flood, it is common for animals to seek food and shelter in new places. That includes your home, yard, and surrounding community. These animals may be as scared and disoriented as your pets, and an exhibit aggressive and violent behavior.
- Use bottled water until you are sure the water quality is safe. Many diseases, such as ringworm, can be passed through water to your pet and on to you and your family.
Many families have at least one pet. Preparing for a natural disaster such as a hurricane or tornado is frightening. But don't wait until the emergency is bearing down on you to prepare. Take the time now to make sure your family and pets are ready for the oncoming emergency. Make sure you know where to find pet-friendly hotels and shelters ahead of time, and put that information in your pet's emergency kit. Stock ahead any anti-anxiety medications or products you will need for each pet. Make sure all your pet's identification and medical records are updated and brought along with you if you have to evacuate.
Being prepared is the best way to ensure your pet's safety. Getting ready for a storm can be terrifying, but you can minimize the risk of separation and injury by taking steps ahead of time. Disaster can strike unexpectedly. Contact your ASPCA, Humane Society, or FEMA for more on information for preparing your pet for natural disasters.