We never know when an emergency or disaster will strike and sadly, often in the rush of things, pets are left behind or simply not given the care they need because their owners just don’t know what to do with them or don’t have the proper supplies. By spending a little time preparing for possible emergencies and disasters, you little furry friend can be properly cared for until your family can return home after an emergency or disaster.
What can I do to prepare for a possible emergency or disaster? First of all, it’s important to know that many Red Cross shelters are unable to accept pets due to space and hygiene constraints. That’s why you need to take an extra step ahead of time to have a plan. First of all, call around to hotels out of your immediate area to see which ones accept pets. Keep a list of pet friendly hotels so you know where to go if you need to evacuate your home. Additionally, keep a list of pet boarders outside of your immediate area in case you end up someplace that does not accept pets. Finally, have a portable pet disaster kit ready to go with you. It should be in a container that’s easily taken with you such as a backpack or duffle bag and should contain food, medications and medical records, leashes, a carrier, a recent photo, water, food and water dishes and an index card that explains the animal’s routine and habits as well as your veterinarian’s contact information and a few toys.
What should I do with my pet during an emergency? If you have to evacuate, take your pet with you. Do not go and assume you’ll be able to get back soon to care for your pet because depending on the extent of the emergency or disaster, you may not be able to return home soon enough to care for your pet. If you cannot keep your pet with you during the evacuation, find someone who can keep your pet for a short time or take it to a boarder. It’s also important to remember that animals can get stressed during this time so be sure to give your pet the extra attention and comfort it needs to feel safe and secure.
What can I do if our pet goes missing? Whether your pet is missing due to an emergency or not, it’s important to get out there looking for it as soon as possible. Make up fliers that you can post and hand out. Also, knock on doors of the houses in the areas that you suspect your pet might be. Finally, check all shelters within twenty miles of where you last saw your pet at least every other day because it may take a while for your pet to show up at a shelter.
Pets are Part of the Family: Three Things You Can Do to Show Them How Much You Love Them
You probably often see dogs riding in the open beds of pickup trucks or with their heads hanging out the window and we all know how much fun it is to let kittens chase a ball of yarn. The thing is, however, that these are dangerous activities for pets and if we really want them to be a part of our families we need to protect their safety. (NOTE: Cats and kittens can strangle or choke on yarn and string if left to play with them unattended.)
Pet Proof Your Home. If you have pets in your home, you know that they take as much care as a toddler, especially when they are young. They are curious and active. That’s why you need to use childproof latches to keep your pets out of cabinets that contain items that could be dangerous if they swallowed it. You should also keep your trash covered and toilet closed and you should always check your dryer before you start it because sometimes animals will crawl into it to stay warm. You’ll want to also check your houseplants to make sure you don’t have any that are poisonous to your animal.
Hot Weather Safety Tips. When it’s hot out, you need to take special precautions to make sure your pets don’t overheat. One of the biggest misconceptions is that animals can stay cool on their own. If you take your dog jogging with you, make sure you alter your exercise time to the cooler time of day as most dogs like to please and will continue running even if they are too tired or hot. If your pet is an outside pet, make sure it has a lot of water and shade during the warmer months.
Cold Weather Safety Tips. Animals do grow thicker coats in the winter, but that doesn’t meant they don’t need shelter when it’s cold out. Avoid using space heaters for your pets, however, because they are burn and fire hazards. If your pet stays outside, be careful that they have fresh, unfrozen water. Check their feet often to make sure there isn’t an ice build-up on the pads of their feet.
Pet Safety Tips:
Feral cats are a growing problem in the United States. Do your part in solving this problem by spaying and neutering your pets.
- Keep a list of pet friendly places and chains so that if you travel with your pet you know where you can and cannot take your pet such as hotels, amusement parks and other entertainment venues and campgrounds.
- Beware of things that are toxic to animals. Chocolate can be deadly for dogs and pine needles cause diarrhea and vomiting in cats (even if they just drink from the water under the Christmas tree).
- Check your pet’s collar at least once a week until it is full grown. You should be able to fit two to three fingers between the collar and the animal’s neck.
- Cats do better indoors. They live longer and healthier lives than cats who are allowed to go outside. Furthermore, cats who go outside are more likely to get fleas, ticks and worms.
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