Emergency Planning For People & Pets

Our Family First column last week had detailed tips and reminders for family planning in severe weather and natural emergency situations. With the threat of impending storms heading for central North Carolina later this week, please take a moment review this information and make plans for your family’s safety and comfort. In addition to the tips we shared last week, make it a point to protect your financial and valuable information.  You may need access to insurance agents, bank accounts, etc. in the event of a major emergency.

Of course, it’s also important to remember that if conditions are unsafe for the humans in your household, your pets are at risk as well. Here are some pointers to consider, to keep your four-legged family members protected in emergencies.

If you haven’t done so already, make sure your pet is microchipped. There’s a much greater likelihood of being separated from your animal in natural disasters. Jot down information about your pet and keep a picture with you. In case of separation, you may need to prove you “belong” to your pet. Also, keep your pet’s ID and vaccination tags current. Make sure your tag includes your cell phone number.

Just like the human members of your family, you should have an emergency kit for your pet. Include at least 2-3 days of food, first aid supplies such bandages and antibiotic treatments, prescribed medications, and sanitary materials such as kitty litter, newspaper and disposable plastic bags. Don’t forget the water! Animals need to stay hydrated, especially in stressful times. Speaking of stress, animals also cope better if they have toys, snacks or familiar bedding material close at hand.

In cases of evacuation or life-threatening weather, always crate your dog or cat. This includes times when you’re staying at home and “riding it out,” because you’ll always want to know exactly where your pet is. Crating keeps pets safe, helps them feel secure, and dramatically decreases the likelihood of being separated from you.

If you need to evacuate, research pet-friendly hotels in areas you may travel to, and book in advance. If it isn’t practical to take your pet with you, know the local facilities like veterinarians, shelters and animal hospitals that accept animals in emergencies.

Finally, try to stay calm. Natural disasters are stressful times for everyone, but animals respond to the situations around them, and do best when circumstances seem as normal as possible.