Summer in Saint Louis can be a time of extremes; severe storms, dangerous heat, flash flooding, and brush fires. In the wake of recent events like tornadoes and brush fires, the question must be asked: “Are you prepared to take care of yourself and your family, including your pets, when disaster strikes?” This is the question National Pet Preparedness Month is designed to bring to the forefront and help us to plan for the four-legged loved ones in our lives.
For millions of animal owners, pets are an important family member. Unfortunately, animals are also affected by disaster. The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency such as a fire or flood, tornado or terrorist attack depends largely on emergency planning done in advance.
Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system, are the same for any emergency. Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. Keep in mind that what’s best for you is typically what’s best for your animals.
If you must evacuate your home, is important NOT TO LEAVE PETS BEHIND! Pets most likely cannot survive on their own and if by some remote chance they do, you may not be able to find them when you return.
If you are heading to a public shelter in an emergency, animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets; consider loved ones or friends outside of your immediate area who would be willing to host you and your pets in an emergency.
A good preparedness kit includes enough of your companion animal’s regular food, medications, first aid supplies, and an appropriately sized carrier. It is also recommended to have updated pet photos, immunizations records, and multiple contact numbers in the kit.
Here are the top ten items for a pet preparedness kit:
Food (your pet’s regular food)
Leash and collar
Photo of your pet/ID and a photo of you with your pet
Medications your pet needs
Immunization/vet records (keep both updated)
First Aid Kit
Contact list of pet-friendly hotels, veterinarians, out-of-town friends/family