NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers' Association 2009 – 2010 Pet Owners Survey, 62 percent of American households have pets. Whether they're two or four-legged, furry, scaled or feathered, our friends mean much to us and are important members of our families.
With September being National Preparedness Month, if you haven't already, now is a good time to think about your best friend or friends in time of danger. Did you know an estimated 20 percent of disaster evacuation failure is attributed to people unwilling to leave their pets? Animals left behind in disasters can become a risk for emergency responders, and be at risk themselves for health complications or getting lost, injured or killed.
"It is very important to have a disaster preparedness plan for your pet or pets," said Federal Coordinating Officer Gracia Szczech. "When it comes to our companion animals in time of disaster, we go into protection mode with our decisions. Being ready increases the likelihood of survival for all involved. Save on difficulty, stress and worry – be prepared."
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, American Kennel Club, American Veterinary Medical Association and Humane Society of the United States have collaborated in developing pet preparedness guidelines.
Scamper with a supply kit!
- Food for three days in airtight, waterproof container;
- Water for three days;
- Medicines and medical records – have an extra supply;
- First aid items including cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape, scissors, antibiotic ointment, flea and tick prevention, latex gloves, alcohol and saline solution, and a pet first aid reference;
- Collar with ID tag, harness or leash – wear at all times and have back-ups;
- Important documents such as registration information, adoption papers, vaccination documents and medical records in a plastic bag or waterproof container;
- Crate or other pet carrier;
- Pet litter, litter box, paper towels, newspapers, plastic trash bags and cleaning supplies;
- Photo of you and pet together; and
- Familiar items such as toys, treats and bedding.
Sniff out a plan!
- Evacuation: Plan how you will assemble and where you will go. Secure appropriate lodging in advance. Consider friends or family outside the area. Other options may include a pet-friendly hotel or motel. If a public shelter could be your destination, think about boarding facilities nearby such as kennels or vet hospitals.
- Buddy system: Plan with neighbors, friends or relatives to evacuate your pet if you are unable to do so. Talk with them about your evacuation plans and supply kit. Designate locations to meet.
- Talk to your vet: Let your veterinarian help you with vets or animal hospitals in other cities where you may seek shelter. Consider microchipping, as the permanent implants may be invaluable if you and your pet are separated.
- Contact information for emergency treatment: Have contact information for animal control agencies and vet emergency centers. Put "Pets Inside" stickers on your windows or doors.
Be on guard!
- Stay informed on what could happen and what types of emergencies are likely to affect your region. Be ready to adapt this information to your personal circumstances and follow instructions from authorities on the scene.
Preparedness can be a lifesaver for you and your pets. Just do it! No pets left behind!
For more information on developing your pet preparednes...