With a potentially extremely dangerous storm looming over the East Coast, Gary wants to remind everyone to make sure their emergency preparations include their companion animals. He asked that I post the following excerpt from Vegan Unplugged with tips on what to do for your animal friends in an emergency:
“Whether you’re staying home or leaving, make sure you plan for your companion animals. Well in advance of any storm, bring your animals indoors—reassure them and help them to remain calm. If at all possible, keep your animals with you during a disaster.
If you need to evacuate, animals should not be left alone in the house. If for some reason you are unable to take your animals with you, try to plan ahead for a safe refuge, such as a specialized animal shelter, a veterinary clinic, or with friends and relatives who live out of harm’s way.
Among the things to assemble for your animals in case of emergency are: proper identification collars and rabies tags, proper identification on all belongings, a carrier or cage, a leash, an ample supply of food and water, and bowls, any necessary medications clearly labeled, newspapers or trash bags, and/or litter and litter box.
FEMA publishes a thorough checklist to plan for your animals in the event of a disaster. It is called “Information for Pet Owners” and some of the important points are listed as follows:
FEMA Disaster Preparedness Checklist for Pets
If you evacuate your home, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND! Pets most likely cannot survive on their own. If by some remote chance they do, you may not be able to find them when you return.
Plan for Pet Disaster Needs
• Identifying shelter. For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets. Find out which motels and hotels in the area you plan to evacuate to allow pets—well in advance of needing them. There are also a number of guides that list hotels/motels that permit pets and could serve as a starting point. Include your local animal shelter’s number in your list of emergency numbers—they might be able to provide information concerning pets during a disaster.
• Take pet food, bottled water, medications, veterinary records, cat litter/pan, can opener, food dishes, first aid kit and other supplies with you in case they’re not available later. While the sun is still shining, consider packing a “pet survival” kit which could be easily deployed if disaster hits.
• Make sure identification tags are up to date and securely fastened to your pet’s collar. If possible, attach the address and/or phone number of your evacuation site. If your pet gets lost, his tag is his ticket home. Make sure you have a current photo of your pet for identification purposes.
• Make sure you have a secure pet carrier, leash or harness for your pet so that if he panics, he can’t escape.
• If you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home, there are some precautions you must take. Remember that leaving your pet at home alone can place your animal in great danger! Confine your pet to a safe area inside—NEVER leave your pet chained outside!
• Leave them loose inside your home with food and plenty of water. Remove the toilet tank lid, raise the seat and brace the bathroom door open so they can drink. Place a notice outside in a visible area, advising what pets are in the house and where they are located. Provide a phone number where you or a contact can be reached, as well as the name and number of your vet.
During a Disaster
• Bring your pets inside immediately.
• Have newspapers on hand for sanitary purposes. Feed the animals moist or canned food so they will need less water to drink.
• Animals have instincts about severe weather changes and will often isolate themselves if they are afraid. Bringing them inside early can stop them from running away. Never leave a pet outside or tied up during a storm.
• Separate dogs and cats. Even if your dogs and cats normally get along, the anxiety of an emergency situation can cause pets to act irrationally. Keep small pets away from cats and dogs.
After a Disaster
• If after a disaster you have to leave town, take your pets with you. Pets are unlikely to survive on their own.
• In the first few days after the disaster, leash your pets when they go outside. Always maintain close contact. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and your pet may become confused and lost. Also, snakes and other dangerous animals may be brought into the area. Downed power lines are also a hazard.
• The behavior of your pets may change after an emergency. Normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive. Watch animals closely.
You can find additional information on the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) website. The HSUS Disaster Center has several useful disaster preparedness brochures available for download to help you plan for the needs of your pets, horses, and other animals during an emergency: http://www.hsus. org/web-files/PDF/DIST_DisasterPetBrochure.pdf.”
For more advice on preparing for emergencies, along with recipes that can help you eat well when the power goes out, check out Vegan Unplugged.
Stay safe, everyone!