As pet owners, we want to do what’s best for our pets, including being prepared in case of a disaster. By planning ahead, you can turn a tragic situation (losing or leaving your pet behind) into a well organized solution for safety and evacuation.

There are many types of disasters that can result in evacuation from your home:
• Severe Weather (hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, lightning strikes, flooding, ice storms)
• Fires (structure fires and wild fires)
• Man-made disasters (gas leaks, chemical spills, terrorism, vandalism)

Here is what you need to do before a disaster strikes:
• Pack a disaster supply kit in a waterproof container with these items:
• Veterinary Records for each pet
• Medications your pet needs
• Heartworm and Flea/Tick Preventatives
• Collars or Harnesses with ID Tags and Leashes
• Carrier for small pets (label information in permanent marker)
• Portable Water and Food Bowls
• Bottles of Water
• Food (your pet’s favorite) Sealed in Plastic Bags
• Manual can opener
• Litter Box and Litter (cats)
• Pooper Scooper and Plastic Bags (dogs)
• Bedding, Towels and Wet Wipes
• Flashlight and Batteries
• Cleaning Supplies
• Pet First Aid Kit

Plan details for evacuation site and discuss plan with your entire family.
• Pre-assign who is going to take which pet and where it will be going
• Place stickers inside your home near each door indicating how many pets, the location of every pet, your contact numbers and emergency numbers.
• Stash some emergency cash (banks could be unavailable)
• Keep your vehicles well maintained and full of fuel.
• Give keys to a neighbor willing to evacuate your pets if you are unable.
• Microchip every pet so that if it is separated or lost, it can be identified and returned to you as quickly as possible.

Some local animal shelters, animal hospitals and boarding facilities allow pets to safely board or stay during a disaster. Find out in advance who provides this service. Severe weather, smoke, sirens, rising water, and loud noises create anxiety in some pets who will attempt to hide, flee or escape, oftentimes injuring themselves when they do so. If you decide to “shelter in place” (stay in your home during a disaster), it is best to keep your animals inside. Small dogs and cats should be confined in a crate even if you are there with them; and large dogs should be walked on a leash. Holding your animal in your arms is not safe because their survival response of “fight or flight” during the height of an emergency can result in losing that animal as they try and run from danger. If you need to evacuate in a hurry, always take your pets with you. The severity of a disaster can change quickly, and you may not be allowed to back into your home to retrieve your beloved animal family members.

Making plans ahead of time can mean the difference between life and death for your precious animals. Good planning means that your pets don’t get left behind.

I would like to invite and challenge you to have all of your pets microchipped before the end of this year. It is quick, easy, affordable and available here at Arlington Animal Hospital. Call us today to make an appointment to have your best friend chipped!

Have a fabulous fall with your favorite furry friend,
Dr. Bonnie

This Month’s Pet of the Month

The new pet of the month is: Milo!