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June is National Pet Preparedness Month

Image provided courtesy of FEMA

Photo courtesy of FEMA

According to the American Humane Association, June is National Pet Preparedness Month. Pet safety is important because animals suffer in the face of natural and man-made disasters in many of the same ways as their human counterparts. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation reports that 36.5 percent of American households include a dog, 30.4 percent have a cat, 3.1 percent own a bird and 1.5 percent include a horse. With such robust pet-representation and because our corporate mascot, RJ the Firedog, is a Dalmatian, we thought it fitting to focus this week’s post on the importance of making safety preparations for your pets.

Whether the disaster you and your pet face affects an entire community of just your household, there are steps you can take before emergency strikes:

  1. Order a pet alert sticker. Offered free of charge from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), these stickers are placed near the front door to alert first responders about the presence of a pet. In addition to noting on the sticker whether pets have been evacuated, information should include the types and numbers of pets in the home.

    Photo courtesy of FEMA   

    Photo courtesy of FEMA

  2. Choose designated care givers or arrange a safe haven. Pets should never be left behind in unsafe conditions. So, before disaster strikes, contact your vet to ask for contact information for suitable boarding kennels and foster care shelters for pets. Click here for information about local animal shelters.
  3. Identify dog-friendly hotels and motels in the area, in case your entire family is evacuated. Or ask friends and relatives if they would be willing to temporarily house your pet if the need arises.
Photo courtesy of FEMA

Photo courtesy of FEMA

During an emergency

  • Stay calm. This will help you handle the disaster and, since pets can sense emotion, it will help lessen their stress.
  • Bring pets indoors, at the first sign of an emergency. Animals can easily become disoriented and could wander away during a crisis.
  • Create a “lost pet” flier to store on your smartphone, so you will be prepared to instantly share via social media, if your pet is lost.
  • Prepare an emergency kit for your pets.

What to include in a pet preparedness kit (FEMA recommends building one for humans and another one specifically for pets. And the American Red Cross and CDC implore pet owners to include their furry friends in emergency prep.):

  • Water – enough for at least three days
  • A week’s supply of canned or dry dog food (Don’t forget the can opener!)

    Image courtesy of FEMA

    Image courtesy of FEMA

  • Bowls for food and water
  • 2-week supply of prescription pet meds
  • Collar & leash and/or pet carrier (Make sure all tags include updated information or consider having your pet micro-chipped.)
  • Medical records, including record of immunizations
  • First Aid Kit with pet-specific items
  • Contact list including info for pet-friendly hotels and veterinarians
  • Favorite toys and comfort items
  • Disposable bags for dogs, litter boxes for cats
  • Photo of your pet
  • Flashlight
  • Blanket
  • Click here for a list of supplies to include in your emergency kit for humans.

Be sure to think about ways to #BeSafe all of the time, not only during pet preparedness month and not just relative to your pets. After all, preparation for humans and pets can save lives. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.

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