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May 12th is National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day

National disasters affect millions of people every year. From hurricanes, to tornadoes, to wildfires, the United States is no stranger to natural disasters. Preparedness plans and survival kits are readily available for our fellow humans, however it’s our beloved animal companions that are generally forgotten. According to The Atlantic, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina over 600,000 animals were killed or stranded. Unfortunately, this is not surprising considering the lack of animal preparedness resources. Texas A&M University’s Veterinary Emergency team took a survey this year and found that 91% of pet owners were unprepared for natural disasters. To combat this, National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day takes place every second Saturday in May. It’s aim is to educate pet owners about having a plan in place to protect their pets during a natural disaster.

How Can you Plan for Disaster?

The best way to protect your pet in the event of a disaster is to have supplies and a plan in place. In addition to having human survival kits ready, make sure to pack up pet first-aid and survival kits. Here’s what to include in your pet’s kit:

  • Pet medical thermometer
  • Assorted bandages, gauze rolls and pads
  • Tweezers
  • Antiseptic
  • Pet carrier
  • Towels and blankets
  • Pet food
  • Bottled water
  • Collapsible pet bowls
  • Leash or harness (for cats too!)
  • Medications
  • Medical, microchip and adoption records, in a Ziploc
  • Medications
  • Numbers for local shelters, vets
  • Current photo of your pet

Practice for the Worst Case Scenario

Practice makes perfect and during natural disasters, knowing exactly what to do will help lower stress. Test-run your evacuation plan every now and then so you and your pet understand what’s going on.

Perhaps the most important thing to plan for in Natural Disaster is the worst case scenario. If you and pet are separated during an emergency, the best chance they have at returning to you is by having up-to-date identification. Keep their tags accurate and readable. Also, make sure their microchips are working and updated. If they’re not microchipped, set up an appointment with your vet! It is always better to be safe and sorry, especially when it comes to the safety and health of your furry family member!

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