Every year, huge number of pets are lost due to natural disasters, and it is quite difficult to be reunited with their owners due to lack of proper identification. In addition, pets can become ill or injured during a disaster.
“Having an emergency plan in place will help ensure you and your pet make it through difficult situations.
Dr. Carol McConnell, manager of veterinary education and services for Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency (VPI) advises pet owners on the steps and supplies necessary to prepare their pet for an emergency situation:
- Do not leave pets behind during an evacuation. If you must evacuate without your pets, leave enough food and water to last at least 48 hours. Post a note for rescue workers detailing the number and type of pets, as well as where the pets were left.
- Have a pet carrier and leash readily accessible.
- Bring pets indoors during an emergency. Natural disasters such as a wildfire can produce unhealthy air and dangerous debris.
- Know the location and numbers of emergency animal care facilities in your area.
- Make sure your pet is microchipped or registered through an identification program.
- Many emergency shelters cannot accept pets for health reasons.
- Identify local animal shelters or hotels that allow you to bring your pets.
- Should you be separated from your pet, log on to Rescuers.com for a listing of animal shelters in your area. Visit shelters regularly and bring a photo and veterinary records to identify your animal.
- Should an injury to your pet result in severe bleeding, apply firm, direct pressure over the area until the bleeding stops. Hold the pressure for at least 10 minutes (continually releasing the pressure to check the wound will hamper the clotting). Avoid bandages that cut off circulation. Call your veterinarian immediately.
- Pack a Pet First Aid Kit, in the event that your pet becomes ill or injured. The First Aid Kit should include vaccination records, photos of your pet and your veterinarian’s phone number in a waterproof bag. Additionally, the following should be included:
- Gauze for wounds or to muzzle the animal
- Pet food & bottled water
- Pet prescription medication
- Adhesive tape
- Nonstick bandages, towels and cloth
- Hydrogen peroxide (3 percent)
- Activated charcoal to absorb poison
- Large syringe (without needle) or eyedropper to give oral treatments
- Muzzle (for dogs)
- Stretcher (board, blanket or floor mat)
(Note: Take a proactive approach but always consult your veterinarian.)
- Sign up for a pet insurance policy.
“Finances are the last thing you want to worry about when trying to help your pet in distress,” says Dr. McConnell. “Having a health insurance policy for your pet will enable you and your veterinarian to make the best choices possible for your pet’s care without cost being the deciding factor.”