June 9, 2011 by wcobserver
We are all acutely aware of the horrors of tornadoes, floods, etc. with the recent spring outbreaks of Nature’s wrath. When an extreme disaster occurs we usually don’t have the luxury of time to get our wits about us and think of everything we need to do to keep our families and pets safe. I saw something on TV about people in tornado alley not being prepared for their children’s safety. It was mainstream media hype for “you dumb Arkies and Okies don’t even know how to take care of your own children.”
The Humane Society has some tips to being prepared for natural disasters where your pets are concerned. A lot of it is common sense (which isn’t so common anymore). While we know these things intuitively, we often procrastinate when it comes to actually doing what needs to be done.
Crate-training your dogs is high on their list of preparedness. This isn’t a bad idea for a number of reasons. Your dog should be trained to “kennel up” on demand and remain there quietly for as long as it takes. This is a basic form of discipline all dogs should be trained to do. If you have cats, make sure the crate you choose is large enough to include a small litter box.
Of course, you will have your Red Cross emergency kit fully stocked and in a location you can easily access. Designate a drawer or other safe place and be sure you have a supply of any medications your pet takes including heartworm and flea/tick prevention products. Also, include in that drawer extra leashes, collars, and harnesses. Keep a copy of microchip papers, rabies certificates and other pertinent veterinary receipts for prescribed medications in case you need proof of ID and refills. Make sure your cell phone number and the phone number of your veterinarian are in there, too. Put a recent photo of the pet in there in case you get separated from the kit yourself.
Pack as if you were going on vacation with your dog. Keep favorite toys, treats, food, blankets, beds and waste bags in a certain place to grab in case of emergency evacuation. Keep these things in a waterproof bag. Have you seen those bags you shrink and store under your bed? Those might work well for a number of these items.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) recommends you get your dog used to traveling in a crate and being introduced to strangers to see how well he behaves around them in case you are separated. A lot of emergency shelters do not allow pets so you should call around to find one close by that does.
These are scary times but with a precise plan of action on your part for your family and pets, the outcome may be brighter than if you are caught unprepared.