National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day
FEMA has declared the second Sunday in May every year as National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day. It is meant to raise awareness about the importance of planning for our pets' safety before disaster strikes.
On this day, veterinarians and kennels celebrate it with us by sharing with pet owners tips on creating emergency plans for our companion animals.
"Preparedness is peace of mind, and including our animals in preparedness plans before an emergency or disaster is the best way to ensure the safety of people and their pets," said Dr. Heather Case, AVMA Scientific Activities Division director.
"Citizen Corps National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day is the perfect time for veterinarians to encourage their clients to develop appropriate animal evacuation plans and kits," Dr. Case said.
Create a Pet Emergency Kit
To defend your dog or cat against a natural disaster, FEMA advises for National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day creating an evacuation plan and a Pet Emergency Go-Kit complete with:
- First Aid Items
- A three-day supply of food and water
- Pet care supplies, such as food and water bowls, waste bags and a leash and collar
- Any required medication and a copy of your pet’s veterinary records
- Important contact information
- Comfort items to calm the frayed nerves of your dog or cat companion, like their favorite toy or a blanket
No matter where you live, natural disasters are a possibility. National Animal Disaster PreparednessDay brings awareness to all kinds of natural disasters: floods, tornadoes, wildfires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Sometimes evacuations–such as for hurricanes–are possibilities; with other disasters like earthquakes, there are no warnings.
Other recommended steps to keep your pet safe in the event of a natural disaster include:
- Get your dog or cat a tag and if you are comfortable with micro-chip collar
- Remember to keep all contact information on the ID tag up to date.
- Alert first responders to the fact that there are pets in your home by displaying a pet rescue decal where it can be easily spotted, such as on the front door or window. Include your veterinarian’s contact information on the decal.
- Where do your pals with paws hide when they are frightened? Finding the spot where they feel safe when scared will help you locate your pet quickly if an emergency arises and you need to quickly evacuate.
- As some disaster shelters may not accept pets, designate a place to keep your dog or cat in case of evacuation. If relatives or friends cannot accommodate your pet, look for hotels and motels with pet-friendly policies.
- Keep a photo of your four-legged friend with you at all times in case you are separated during a natural disaster.
- Have a pet carrier or crate for transport and safe-keeping on hand.
- Make sure you have a sticker in the window letting emergency personnel know how many pets you have and if they are cats, dogs, etc.
The difference between being prepared and not could lead to catastrophes.