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Be Prepared

Did you know?

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A recent survey indicated that 91 percent of pet owners are not prepared for the next natural disaster.

To help you prepare, the VET, the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), and our partners at the Banfield Foundation® have some tips for establishing a plan in the event that you have to evacuate your home during an emergency situation:

  • Call your veterinarian to begin your planning process—if your pet is not up-to-date on their vaccinations, schedule an appointment to do so. While you’re there, have your veterinarian:
    • Give you a copy of your pet’s medical records, since some shelters may not accept pets that are not current on their vaccinations,
    • Refill any prescriptions your pet may need, and
    • Talk with you about planning for any specific needs your pet may have.
  • Create a pet disaster preparedness kit with items placed in waterproof bags or containers. Your kit might include:
    • Basic survival items like three to seven days’ worth of food and water (Banfield has an online tool to help you determine how much of these items you'll need, which can be found at bit.ly/banfieldnutrition), pet bowls, and two weeks’ worth of medications;
    • First aid supplies;
    • Cleaning supplies, including pet waste bags and sanitizing wipes;
    • Your pet’s records, including rabies tags, medical records, and microchip number information;
    • Pictures of you, your family and your pet, in case of separation; and
    • Feline supplies, including a litterbox, scooper, and litter.
    • The Banfield Foundation is currently thanking its donors with a pre-assembled pet disaster preparedness kit, available here, BanfieldFoundation.org/kit. Each donation also provides a preparedness kit to vulnerable pet owners in select, high-risk states.
  • Don't forget transportation supplies—a pet carrier or crate, a leash and collar, and familiar items such as toys, treats, blankets or bedding, and/or stress-relief products (pheromone sprays or wipes) will help you move your pet safely and comfortably.
  • Ensure your pet is microchipped—Banfield also found that more than half of those surveyed do not have their pet microchipped. In addition to ensuring your pet is always wearing up-to-date identification tags, talk with your veterinarian about microchipping your pets—and ensure your account and contact information is kept current—to increase the likelihood of a reunion if your pet gets loose amidst chaos.
  • Know where you’re going—prepare for a possible evacuation by compiling a list of hotels, boarding facilities, or shelters that will allow you to bring your pets; include contact information and addresses for each.
  • In the event of a natural disaster, never leave your pets behind in vehicles, tethered, or crated without you or a member of your family. Pets left outdoors are at risk for diseases—in the event of heavy rains and flooding, mosquitoes multiply, increasing the likelihood of the spread of heartworm disease to your pet, so ensure your pet is on year-round heartworm preventive medicine—as well as storm-related injuries, and, possibly, death.
  • Stay informed!
    • Organizations like the Banfield Foundation offer online resources to help you prepare your family and pet for an emergency.
    • Local emergency management offices may also have details about your area’s evacuation and sheltering plans.
    • A current list of contacts, including your veterinarian, emergency veterinarians in an area to which you are likely to evacuate, and an animal control office, in the event the event that your pet may be lost or injured.

A disaster can strike at any time! Therefore, the VET encourages all families to be safe and prepared by planning for their furry family members as they plan for themselves.