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Disaster Preparedness: Is Your Pet Safe?

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (Sept. 9, 2008) – The dramatic rescue of nearly 12,000 stranded pets during Hurricane Katrina has led to a higher priority placed on pet safety during other disasters.

You and your pet may need to leave home during a natural disaster (hurricane, tornado, flood, blizzard, wildfire, earthquake or mudslide) or manmade crisis (house fire, gas leak or hazardous material spill). The experts at Farmers’ Almanac, the original sustainable living guide, recommend creating an evacuation plan to keep your pet safe:

  • Draw up a family disaster plan that includes your pet. The safest place for your pet during an evacuation is with you. Identify animal-friendly accommodations in advance of a crisis. Some shelters won’t take pets.
  • Prepare a pet evacuation kit and place it in a safe spot. Include:
    • tape or small luggage tags for emergency contact info
    • list of places that board animals, with phone numbers
    • medical records
    • medications and instructions
    • leash, collar, and harness (if needed)
    • carrier
    • current photos of pet
    • veterinarian’s name, address and phone number
    • pet’s allergies, if any
    • food and bottled water
    • bedding, if easily portable
    • first aid kit
  • Enlist a neighbor’s help. You may not be home or allowed to return home when disaster strikes. Tell your neighbor ahead of time where your pet evacuation kit is stored, where pets might be and where their food is kept.
  • Evacuate early. Transporting and finding shelter for you and your pet will require extra time.
  • Bring all pets inside during a weather emergency. Animals may sense an approaching storm or change in the weather and seek out a favorite hiding spot. If you need to evacuate, confine animals in their carriers. You don’t want to be searching for your cat in the closet or your bunny under the bed.
  • Consider all creatures great and small. To most people, “pet” means dog or cat. What about birds or fish? Rabbits, ferrets or hamsters? What if you have a farm with horses, goats, sheep, cattle, pigs or ducks? The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) offers tips and detailed evacuation checklists for all types of domestic animals at http://www.avma.org/disaster/default.asp.

For more important information from the weather experts at Farmers’ Almanac, visit www.FarmersAlmanac.com.

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