National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day 2016
As pet parents, we all understand the importance of providing our pets with the proper nutrition, exercise and care in order to ensure their health and happiness. Often overlooked, however, is the significance of planning for your pet’s safety and care in the event of an emergency. Here in Texas, we know the threats and dangers associated with flooding, wildfires, and tornadoes; and although many families are prepared for these storms, and may have detailed and practiced plans in place if a disaster were to strike, these plans frequently do not include specific instructions for making sure the family pet is looked after.
In light of National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day on May 14, and the start of the summer stormseason and wildfires, Texas Humane Heroes partnered with Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s Food, Shelter & Love® program wanting to make sure that families think to include their pets and are well-versed in the easy steps that can help keep pets safe in an emergency.
Pet parents should follow seven quick steps to confirm your pet’s safety during an emergency:
- Ensure your pet can be identified by either a microchip or collar ID tag and that contact
information is up-to- date.
- Prepare a “Pet Emergency Go-Kit” of pet supplies that is readily accessible in an emergency.
- Display a pet rescue decal on your front door or window to let first responders know there is a pet in the house. Include your veterinarian’s contact information.
- Learn where your pet likes to hide in your house when frightened. Finding your pet quickly will help you evacuate faster.
- Identify a location to take your pet if you need to leave your immediate area. Keep in mind that disaster shelters for people may not be open to pets. Scout hotels and motels with pet-friendly policies and ask relatives or friends if they could house you and your pet.
- Carry a picture of your pet in the event of separation.
- If you need to evacuate, consider taking a pet carrier or crate for transport and safe-keeping.
In the last three years, the Hill’s Disaster Relief Network delivered free food to more than 60 different shelters and veterinary clinics across the country in response to 25 major incidents – including floods in Colorado, fires in Idaho and Arizona, the fertilizer plant explosion in Texas, the mudslide in Washington state and tornadoes in the central and southern regions of the country.
“You never know when a disaster might strike so taking the time now to put an emergency plan in place, and have a bag packed and ready to go, can cut down on the stress often associated with an emergency,” said Dr. Ellen Lowery, Director of U.S. Veterinary and Professional Affairs at Hill’s. “The more prepared you are, the faster you can move the whole family, including your pets, to safety.”
Families looking to learn more about disaster preparedness and safety, as well as the Hill’s Disaster Relief Network, can visit www.HillsPet.com/PetPrepared. To request assistance during an emergency, shelters can contact DisasterRelief@hillspet.com.