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Is Your Pet Prepared for an Emergency?

Disaster can strike at any time, and it comes in many forms. And while you may already have an emergency plan in place for your family members, pet emergency plans tend to get overlooked. However, with just a few simple steps of precaution, you can keep your beloved pet out of harm's way in the event of an emergency.

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  1. Get a rescue alert sticker: These stickers are an easy way to let people know pets are inside your home in the event tragedy strikes while you are away or incapacitated. Make sure you place the sticker in a visible place (front door or front window) and include the types and number of pets in your household along with your vet's number. If you evacuate with your pet, remove the sticker or write "evacuated" so rescue workers can respond accordingly.
  2. Stock up on supplies: Some natural disasters, such as a blizzard or low-grade hurricane require residents to simply lay low at home. Power outages, fallen trees, and floods are just a few examples of the aftermath that could keep you at home once the storm passes. Therefore, it's important that you keep a healthy supply of your pet's food and water on hand, as well as any medications your pet may be taking. Determine which rooms are "safe" rooms during the emergency, and keep the supplies in that room or as close as possible.
  3. Have an evacuation plan: Unfortunately, some events cause for evacuation, so prepare a travel kit that you can grab in a moment's notice. It should contain:
    • Pet first aid kit (available for purchase at the American Red Cross store)
    • Food (check expirations periodically and pack a can opener for cans)
    • Feeding dishes
    • Extra collar and leash
    • Bottled water
    • Any medicine your pet requires
    • Disposable litter tray and litter for cat owners
    • Blanket
    • Toys
    • Vaccination records
  4. Arrange for care: In the event you cannot bring your pet with you, it's crucial that you have a safe place to bring your pet while you are away. You must never, ever leave your pet alone during an emergency, as any number of things could happen in your absence. If your home is not safe for you or your family, it is not safe for your pet. Instead, ask friends and family outside your immediate area if they can watch your pet. If you cannot find a caretaker yourself, contact your vet for a list of preferred kennels and facilities, or ask your local animal shelter if they provide emergency care. Remember, some hotels and motels allow pets, so consider this option so you can keep your pet with you.
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