Lessons from Japan: Five Ways to Prepare your Pet for an Emergency

aerial view of JapanIn the wake of the Japan's recent disasters, many of us have tried to imagine what we would do if we were faced with a catastrophe in our area. It's a good idea to have a plan in place, and pet owners have even more to think about in terms of dealing with power outages, severe weather, forced evacuations or anything else that may occur.

Now is the time to formulate a plan, and several resources exist to point us in the right direction. For example, FEMA offers a few ideas regarding disaster preparedness for pet owners, and several bloggers have weighed in on the topic as well. Dr. Patrick Mahaney, a veterinarian and vet acupuncturist, has listed several pet emergency preparedness tips on his blog that makes everything a little easier to think about.

Here are a few basics to start with:

Identification. This is true all the time but it's especially important in the event of an emergency: make sure your pet is wearing ID tags, get a microchip and keep the information up to date, and carry a recent picture with you on your phone or in your wallet.

Shelter. If evacuation should be necessary, know where you'll take your pets. Shelters set up for people may not allow animals, so consider the possibilities ahead of time. Is your vet an option? What about the closest animal shelter or boarding facility?

Survival Supplies.
It's a good idea to build an emergency kit for you and your family, and when you stock up with basic supplies (food, flashlight, bottled water, etc...), don't forget about pet food, medicine, and anything else your pet would need if you didn't have access to a store for a while.

Practice. Be sure your pet is comfortable following a safety plan. Going to the basement, staying in a travel crate for extended periods, and traveling in the car are all things your dog, cat, bird or other animal companion should be able to handle.

Observe.
Outdoor conditions can cause an animal's behavior to change from calm and well-adjusted to anxious, uneasy and even aggressive, so exercise awareness and caution, set a calm example, and keep pets properly restrained to prevent them from running away.

As unpleasant as it may be to think about dealing with a dangerous and disastrous situation, the smart thing to do is to have a comprehensive plan in place. Wrapping your mind around the details now means that later, if the time comes, you'll know what to do and how to do it.

Have anything to add? Share your tips with us here or on our Facebook page, and don't forget that Japan could still use our help. Make a donation to the pets of Japan if you've yet to do so, and join us by keeping everyone in your thoughts.



Photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video via Flickr

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