It’s Pet Safety Preparedness Month and the American Red Cross reminds pet owners that their furry friends are totally dependent on them for their safety during an emergency situation. Your disaster plans must include your pets and we have steps you can take to help keep your beloved pets safe.
As we head into hurricane season and the time of year for wildfires and other disasters, remember, if it’s not safe for you to be in your home, it’s not safe for your pets either. Make an evacuation plan that includes you, your loved ones and your pets. Many hotels and shelters do not accept animals, so plan ahead as to where you would take your pet. And, when you pack your disaster kit, assemble one for your pet too. Details about what to include are available here.
CREATE AN EMERGENCY PLAN FOR YOUR PET
Include your pets in your disaster plan. Here are five things to consider:
- Know which hotels and motels along your evacuation route will accept pets in an emergency. Call ahead for reservations if you know you may need to evacuate. Ask if no pet policies could be waived in an emergency. Most Red Cross shelters cannot accept pets because of health and safety concerns and other considerations. Service animals that assist people with disabilities are allowed in Red Cross shelters.
- Know which friends, relatives, boarding facilities, animal shelters or veterinarians can care for your animals in an emergency. Prepare a list with phone numbers.
- Although your animals may be more comfortable together, be prepared to house them separately, if necessary.
- Include your pets in evacuation drills so that they become used to entering and traveling in their carriers calmly.
- Make sure that your pet’s vaccinations are current and that all dogs and cats are wearing collars with securely fastened, up-to-date identification. Many pet shelters require proof of current vaccinations to reduce the spread of disease. Consider having your pet “microchipped” by your veterinarian.
DOWNLOAD THE APP Pet owners can download the Red Cross Pet First Aid app for veterinary advice for everyday pet emergencies at their fingertips. The free app features videos, quizzes and step-by-step advice on pet first aid and includes emergency preparedness information. Red Cross apps can be found in smartphone app stores by searching for American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
TAKE THE COURSE People can access the Red Cross Cat and Dog First Aid online course on their desktop or tablet. It takes approximately 30 minutes to complete the course. The interactive course includes:
- How to determine a pet’s normal vital signs so that owners can notice if there are any irregularities;
- Step-by-step instructions and visual aids for what to do if a pet is choking, needs CPR, has a wound, or is having a seizure; and
- Information on preventative care, health and tips for a pet’s well-being.