When Disaster Strikes, Don't Forget Your Pets

When Disaster Strikes, Don't Forget Your Pets

People are urged to prepare for disasters by having an emergency plan, and animal experts say that your plan needs to include your pets.

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Hurricanes, tornadoes or floods can be unpredictable, and although no one can control the weather, people can control how prepared they are for these threats.

If an evacuation order is given, it is best if you are ready to leave right away, said Angela Clendenin. She is a public information officer for the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences' Veterinary Emergency Team.

"One of the best ways to prepare your pet for a potential disaster is to create a 'go kit' of necessary documents and supplies, which people can easily grab and transport with them in the event of an evacuation," Clendenin said.

"When evacuation is delayed, roads can get jammed with traffic or become impassible with early flooding or debris," Clendenin said in a university news release.

"For those who need assistance with evacuating animals, resources may become scarce or non-existent as the threat from the disaster gets closer," she added. "Evacuating early ensures that pets and their owners are able to get to safety before the disaster hits."

When preparing your emergency kit, be sure to also do so for your pets and livestock. Your pet's emergency kit should include a few days' supply of food, water, medications and comfort items, Clendenin advised.

"In the case that pet and livestock owners get separated, this kit should include photos of pets and descriptions of where livestock is located. Ensuring your pets and livestock are microchipped or visibly tagged or marked is also a way to identify animals and establish ownership," Clendenin explained.

It's also important to protect your pets after the emergency situation has ended, she added.

"After a disaster strikes, the area in and around homes can be quite dangerous for pets," Clendenin said.

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Dangers include downed power lines and fencing that has fallen or broken into pieces.

More information

Ready.gov has more about disasters and pets.


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