When Disaster Strikes
Posted May 24, 2013
When a disaster suddenly strikes it can be frightening for
everyone, including your pet. The best thing you can do for you and
your pet's safety is to be prepared, develop a plan for
emergencies, and have it ready before the disaster strikes.
Planning ahead is the key to keeping yourself and your pet safe
before, during, and after a disaster.
"Before a disaster, it is important to insure that all your
animals are identified within a system that will allow you two to
be reunited if separated," said Wesley Bissett, assistant professor
at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine &
Biomedical Sciences (CVM). "Identification can come in a variety of
ways, such as collars or microchips. Collars may be less expensive
but they are much easier to lose, whereas microchips may be more
expensive but provide the advantage of being permanently within the
animal. You should also try to keep a photo of you and your pet
together to verify ownership."
When preparing for a disaster, it is imperative that all of your
pet's vaccinations are current. "If you do not typically have your
dog vaccinated for Bordetella, or kennel cough, consider doing so
as storm season approaches," said Bissett. "This is disease
prevention in case your pet is checked into an animal shelter."
When packing emergency supplies for your pet remember to store
at least a one-week supply of pet food to keep the pet's GI tract
from becoming upset, and enough water to meet you and your pet's
needs for up to three days. If you must evacuate the area, make
sure to grab your pet's food & water bowls before leaving.
"If your pet is on a prescription for a chronic illness, keep at
least a two-week supply of medication as well as a copy of the
pet's medical records," said Bissett. "It may be difficult to have
prescriptions re-filled in an emergency situation. Also, make sure
you have a kennel or crate to transport your pet in case of an
During a disaster, it is important to follow a pre-written
strategy to ensure you and your pet's safety. This not only saves
valuable time during the disaster but can also aid in remembering
important details of the event afterwards. "It is also important to
heed all evacuation recommendations and orders," said Bissett. "If
the number of animals that you will be evacuating will require
multiple trips, plan ahead and leave early!"
"If your pet is injured during a disaster immediately seek
veterinary medical help, which in many cases is available as part
of the local or state response," said Bissett. "If help is not
instantly available, perform first aid until help arrives."
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