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One of my sons just got a puppy for his birthday, a gorgeous golden retriever that I’ve simply fallen in love with. The first thing I’ve done after he brought it home? Started researching ways to protect the little guy in case of disaster. Old habits die hard, what can I say?
So I made a selection of the most useful information I’ve found to help you protect your furry family members when disasters strike. Please, keep in mind that animals are far more distressed during disasters than humans. Not only can the feel disasters coming hours before they happen and get agitated, but they also feel your fear and mimic your behaviour. So read the following preparedness methods carefully and take any measure that would make it easier for your pets to go through any emergency situation.
#1: Get a name & address tag for your pet
You don’t need to get a fancy one that costs way more than they’re worth. Go to a pet store or look for identity tags on the internet. There are plenty of variants to choose from, for any budget. Just make sure you include your pet’s name, your address, one or two contact numbers and even your e-mail address, if there’s any space left for it.
#2: Consider microchip implantation
You’ll have to take your pet to the vet for this procedure, but I assure you it’s nothing complicated. The doctor will inject a microchip beneath its skin, that’s all. It’s really tiny and it will only take a few minutes. And the best part is, that once it’s injected, the microchip will sit there for the rest of your pet’s life.
You should really consider this safety measure, because it’s a reliable way to find your pet in case you lose it. Here’s how it works: the microchip contains a registration ID number and phone number for the registry that originally assigned it. So if someone finds your pet and takes it to an animal shelter, the workers there will scan the microchip, check the registration ID number, and the contact data that corresponds with the ID and then they’ll call you to come and pick up the little rascal. It’s very simple and extremely useful.
#3: Look for emergency “foster parents”
Make a list with all the friends that are willing to take your pet in for a few days until the disaster is over and your home is safe again. Keep the list in your bag, wallet and/or your car at all times, together with their addresses and phone numbers. This way, you can create your escape route based on who’s closer to you at that point.
Attention: before deciding to put a friend on the “foster parents” list, think about these details: do they have other pets? do the other pets get along with other animals? do all the family members who live in that home like animals? Finding someone who is willing to take in your pet is great, but not enough (unless you haven’t got any other choice).
#4: Keep leashes and crates on hand
When a disaster happens, your pet will most likely become very agitated and hard to control. This is the worst possible time to start looking for the leash or crate around the house. You won’t have time for this, your main goal will be survival. So keep them on hand at all times, to spare time and control your pet faster and easier.
#5: Keep a pet survival kit on hand
I suggest you keep two of them: one on your home and one in your car. Here’s what you should include, according to UrbanSurvivalSite:
● Pet food. Start with at least a two-week supply, then build from there. How long it lasts depends on what you get. Your pet food will last a lot longer if you buy the good stuff from a pet store and avoid the imported stuff found at places like Walmart. Most dog and cat food is high in fat which means it will turn rancid after the “best by” date, so for long-term storage consider getting airtight containers and oxygen absorbers. Also, remember that canned food lasts longer than dry food.
● Hand can opener. You should have one of these for yourself, anyway. Just a reminder.
● Food and water bowls. It’s good to have some extra bowls, especially the collapsible kind that don’t take up much space.
● Several gallons of water. Again, you should have this for yourself, but it wouldn’t hurt to set several gallons aside from your regular drinking water.
● Pet treats and supplements. Make sure you have enough to last as long as the regular food.
● Waste disposal system. This is particularly important for cats. Make sure you have plenty of litter, newspapers, a scoop, bleach, garbage bags and baking soda (for the smell).
● Pet medications. Make sure you have enough stocked up to last far beyond your pet’s next vet appointment.
These are the basic measures you need to take to make sure your pet survives any disaster. Don’t forget they need all the help they can get, so prepare them for emergency situations just like you would with any other member of your family.
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