Keeping your pet safe in a disaster situation may depend on a little advance planning - just in case something should happen. Whether your best friend has fur, or feathers, or scales, it depends on you to keep it safe and get it out of harm's way in time.
With the tornadoes that hit Indiana this week, and the catastrophic flooding that devastated parts of Louisiana this month, it seems like a good time to talk about keeping pets safe in a natural disaster. With tornadoes, there is not much advance warning, and no one expected the prolonged torrential rainfall in Louisiana that put people and animals in peril. Even though you may not have much advance notice before a disaster, planning could make a difference when trying to keep yourself and your best friend safe.
First, make sure your pet always has some identification; if you and your furry friend become separated during or after the storm or flood, that ID could be your animal’s ticket home. You can hang a tag on its collar with your name and phone number, but collars can come off. So you might also want to have your pet microchipped. A microchip is a more permanent ID with a unique number which can be read by a special scanner and which is registered to you. Just make sure your contact information is up-to-date in the registry.
In the event of heavy flooding, you may be advised to evacuate. Among the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina and other disasters is the importance of including pets in an evacuation plan. Another lesson learned – don’t delay, or you risk not just your life but the life of your furry friend.
Keep some supplies handy in case you and your pet have to “camp out” for a few days. You could use a large tote and include some pet food, treats, leash, harness, bowls. Keep your best friend current on all vaccinations, and put proof of vaccination in the tote. Some shelters allow pets, but you may be required to provide that documentation. Put the tote with a carrier and a blanket which will be useful if you need to keep your animal confined.
Planning for your pet’s safety now can help you and your furry companion stay healthy, stay safe, and stay together. After all, that’s what companionship is all about – riding out the storms of life together, when you’re speaking of pets.