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The month of June is National Pet Preparedness Month, which means it’s the ideal time to think about ways you can be ready in the event of a natural disaster.
Read more of what you need to know as a pet parent and friend and what types of natural disasters can affect pets.
Some natural disasters include events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, tornadoes (even severe thunderstorms), and tsunamis.
Depending on where you live, you might be at risk for certain types of natural disasters more than others. Natural disasters are scary and can be deadly, and they impact our pets just as much as they impact us.
For example, when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in August 2005, it left 104,000 abandoned animals in its wake because there was no solid evacuation plan for families with pets. Over 15,500 animals were eventually rescued, but sadly, many were not.
Similarly, during the 2018 wildfires in California, thousands of pets were displaced leaving more pets in shelters than people. One shelter (located at the Butte County Fairgrounds) had 1,000 animals at one time.
Out of the many animals who wind up in shelters after a natural disaster, it’s safe to say that a majority of them might never see their family again.
Create a Pet Disaster Preparedness Plan
Situations like these are scary and sad, but they’re also preventable.
What can you do to help your pet stay safely by your side if a natural disaster occurs? The first step is recognizing the importance of having a plan, which is what National Pet Disaster Preparedness Month is all about.
Too many pet parents don’t take the time to sit down and think about what might happen and what they’ll do if it does — but it’s an extremely important step to take because you truly don’t know what could happen.
What exactly should your family include in a pet disaster preparedness plan?
The Red Cross recommends doing your research ahead of time. One thing to research in advance is the hotels along your evacuation route. Be sure to find out which hotels will accept pets in an emergency or natural disaster situation. If you are evacuating your home, always take your pets with you — it’s the best way to keep them safe and to know where they are.
Be aware, however, that pets (except for service dogs) are not allowed in Red Cross shelters due to health concerns. Another option when it comes to finding your pet a safe place to stay is to think about friends, shelters, and vets and other clinics along your escape route.
What To Do and Know
Long before a natural disaster ever arrives, get into a habit of keeping your pet up-to-date on vaccinations. Having your pet’s vaccinations updated will help keep your pet healthy – especially if they are placed in a dangerous situation around dangerous debris and other pets and animals during a possible disaster or evacuation.
Having extra copies of these vaccinations are also an important way to know what vaccinations your pet has had if he or she needs to visit an emergency vet during a natural disaster.
Getting both your cats and dogs microchipped is an important step to take to ensure your pet’s safety daily as well as if they were to get displaced during a disaster situation. Getting your pet microchipped can impact their return to you safely and more quickly.
You can also create a Pet Emergency First-Aid Kit so you’ll have everything you need for your pet if you’re forced to quickly leave your home.
This kit should include items such as food supplies for a few weeks, medicine, medical records, updated photos of your pet(s), (regularly rotate and update these items), blankets, a leash, a collar, a pet first aid kit, and a little cash.
Having a basic knowledge of pet first-aid tips can also be the difference in saving your pets life not only year-round but also during disaster situations.
The Red Cross offers an online Cat & Dog First Aid class that teaches the basics of pet CPR and also covers several other helpful topics (such as checking your pet’s vital signs, managing bleeding, and what to do in the case of a seizure).
You can also find a class by searching for your location using Pet Tech. Pet Tech offers a 5+ hour class that teaches you CPR techniques, first aid skills, and other general healthcare information for dogs and cats alike.
Participants that attend the Pet Tech course receive a helpful 40-page handbook to take home. This handbook is something that can be kept in your pet disaster first-aid kit for reference during a disaster situation for your pet or another pet you come across.
Your local vet or animal shelter might also offer pet CPR classes.
Check on Your Pet After a Disaster Situation
Finally, one thing that many pet owners overlook is what you should do to help your pet after a natural disaster takes place.
Events such as storms and fires are scary for humans, so they can be even more terrifying for your pets — who are often small, vulnerable, and might be separated from you.
Animals can experience PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) just like humans.
“Pets can have situational anxiety because they do not understand the events that are taking place around them,” Alina Smith, CEO of a CBD oil provider for pets, told Pet Product News.
If your pet experiences a natural disaster, your pet may begin acting differently. He or she could become more aggressive or act disoriented.
Get in touch with your veterinarian, who can advise you on the best way to give your pet the love and care they need.
Keep Your Furry Friend and Family Safe Year-Round
Natural disasters are terrifying, but it’s important to be prepared.
Create an emergency kit to stash in a handy place in your home with important information and documents. With these steps, you’ll be ready for any disaster that might occur.
Accidents and illnesses do happen. Much like storms and disasters – you never know when or what could happen to your furry friend.
Pet insurance provides peace of mind that if your pet gets sick or injured you don’t have to think twice about the financial aspect and you can just focus on your pet’s care.
The team at PetFirst Pet Insurance loves helping pet parents have the ability to give their pets the best care possible.
As a pet parent, you can find the best coverage for your furry friend with PetFirst and our various options that can fit your families needs.
PetFirst Pet Insurance can help you be prepared in case a natural disaster strikes. Get a quote today.