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Disaster Preparedness for Pets

Being prepared is the key to surviving disasters. This includes not only preparing for yourself, but for your pet as well. General rules of thumb are to have a 1 week supply of essentials at the house (stored in waterproof containers), a 3 day supply of essentials in a waterproof box in the car, and a 1 day supply of lightweight essentials in a backpack, stored in an easily accessible location, such as a car, bedroom, or office. Don’t be caught unprepared. Follow these guidelines to help your pet prepare for a disaster.
1. Water – This is the most critical item during a disaster. As to how much you will need, calculate one gallon per person per day. An eight pound cat will drink about a cup of water per day. A thirty pound dog will drink about one quart of water per day. These amounts will dramatically increase with heat, humidity, or any strenuous activity. In your backpack, pack two quarts of water and either purification tablets or a water filter.
2. Food – Store non-perishable foods that do not require hydration with water. Vacuum-sealed, waterproof packets of dry food or canned food for pets works well. Don’t forget a can opener. Include special treats to help reduce stress in pets and to help distract them if needed.
3. Medical – Keep a good store of your pet’s medications. Always have in excess of a one-week supply. If your pet has problems with anxiety, such as storm phobia, be sure to also have a veterinarian-prescribed sedative or tranquilizer on-hand.
4. Clothing – Emergency reflective solar blankets can be life-saving. Fleece is comfortable, compact, and quick-drying. Dogs should have protective boots to guard against debris. Reflective collars or vests, an extra leash, and even a flashing red LED collar light are good ideas. Transportable pet carriers for cats or small dogs are also a good idea. The ability to restrain a pet during stressful times can help keep them safe.
5. ID – Microchip your pet, and don’t forget to register your name and information with the microchip company. Also, register your pet with the county. Always have ID tags and a rabies tag on your pet’s collar. Make sure you have addresses and numbers to local emergency veterinarians, your veterinarian, proof of rabies vaccination, and a photo of your pet. Keep your pet up to date on heartworm preventative, flea/tick preventatives, and de-wormers, as parasites can become more prevalent during disasters.

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