It's National Disaster Preparedness Month

National Disaster Preparedness Month
 
The recent images from the Texas and Florida floods and the Montana wildfires are heartbreaking. Streets overflowing with water, burning forests, entire families displaced, and rescued pets sent to shelters in other states are hard for us to grasp so far away. At a time like this, it seems only fitting that the Centers for Disease Control sponsors National Disaster Preparedness Month every September. The organization urges all Americans to pre-plan for natural disasters caused by severe weather, acts of terrorism, and other causes. This requires a bit of extra effort for pet owners.
 
What to Include in an Animal Disaster Kit
While you might view yourself as calm and collected, it’s hard to think of gathering supplies for your pet with a disaster on its way. That’s why the CDC recommends preparing a disaster kit before you need to use it. For pets, it should include the following:
 
  • Your pet’s regular food placed in airtight container
  • Bottled drinking water
  • Bags for waste
  • Extra litterbox and litter for cats
  • Grooming supplies
  • Your pet’s regular medications
  • A carrier for each pet
  • A leash and/or harness
  • Your pet’s favorite pillow, blanket, or other bedding
  • A few toys
  • Your pet’s vaccination records
  • Written care instructions that direct others how to care for your pet if you become separated
Other Disaster Planning Tips to Keep in Mind
If you have put off getting a microchip for your pet, consider how handy it would be in a natural disaster. Your dog or cat could lose his tag and collar easily amidst all the stress and chaos. If he has a microchip, anyone who finds him can take him to the nearest animal shelter or veterinary clinic to scan for your contact information. It’s also important to label the carrier for each pet with his name, your name, and a telephone number.
 
The extreme stress of a natural disaster can cause some pets to run towards danger instead of away from it. Even a normally obedient dog or cat could take off the other direction when you call her. The best way to avoid this is to keep a harness or leash by each exit in your home. This keep your pet with you and under your control.
 
Listing where you would seek shelter in a disaster is also an important part of planning. It makes it easier to evacuate quickly when you know where you’re going. Pet owners should also include the names and addresses of animal shelters where they can bring their pets temporarily if they’re unable to stay together. If the disaster is not so severe that you must leave home, create a safe space for your pet in one area until things get back to normal.

Natural Disasters Are Breeding Grounds for Disease
When disaster strikes, people only think about escaping it. They’re not necessarily considering how quickly disease can spread due to things like stagnant water and exposure to hundreds of other people and animals. 
 
If your pet is behind on vaccines, we urge you to contact Grantsburg Animal Hospital at 715-463-2536 or Wild River Veterinary Clinic at 320-629-7474 to schedule an appointment. It’s also essential for your pet’s well-being to get regular preventive care exams. Both of these make it much more likely your dog or cat won’t become seriously ill in the aftermath of a disaster. 
 
Photo Credit: Jetvic / Getty Images

Print Email