By, Katy Cable -TWR
A 4 min. Read
In the words of the brilliant James Taylor, “I’ve seen 🔥 fire and I’ve seen rain...” If you’re living in California you’ve probably walked outside to find your car covered in ash. We need to wear n95 masks in order to breathe in the midst all the serious fire storms terrorizing our state. Other parts of the country have been hit by violent tornadoes. Plus hurricane season is also just getting underway with Ida threatening to be the worst storm New Orlean’s has seen since the 1800’s.
Whether you’re in the fire zone or the direct path of a hurricane, or you’re merely watching it on TV, this is a great reminder: NOW IS THE TIME TO PREPARE! If you’re a pet parent, it means preparing for them too! Total devastation can happen in minutes. You may have little to no time or any advance warning before you must evacuate.
Waiting until the last minute to have an emergency plan and supplies in place is not only foolish but may be deadly. So, BEFORE a crisis, while it's fresh on everyone's minds, I hope each and every one of you will take a few minutes and:
Make a Disaster Plan for Your Pets
Here are 5 important tips to keep pets safe in natural disasters and emergencies:
1. HAVE ALL YOUR PETS MICRO-CHIPPED and make sure they’re wearing ID collars when home alone. You will greatly increase your chances of being reunited with pets who get lost by having them micro-chipped; But remember, the “Good Samaritan” who finds your pet likely won't be able to scan for a chip, but they will be able to read a basic tag!
*Put your cellphone number on your pet's tag. It may also be a good idea to get an additional tag with the phone number of a friend or relative outside your immediate area in the event you have to evacuate.
2. PREPARE AN EMERGENCY KIT: Include essentials such as:
🐾2 weeks of clean drinking water & non-perishable high quality dry or freeze dried pet food. Store in water-tight containers.
🐾Water purification tablets
🐾First aid kit
🐾Any medication you pet takes plus first-aid meds: (antacid/small can of pumpkin/Benadryl/baby aspirin) 🐾CBD oil
🐾A crate labeled with photo of pet and emergency contact number
🐾Comfort toys/in crate
🐾Booties or baby socks
🐾Puppy pads/poop bags
3. BEFORE DISASTER STRIKES:
Make sure there's a sign on your door for emergency personnel that you own pets and where they typically hide in the house if scared.
*Entrust a neighbor with a key who can get your pets in the event of an emergency and you are away. Be sure the person is comfortable with your pets and your pets are familiar with them. Show them where your pets are likely to be (especially if they hide when they're nervous) and where your disaster supplies are kept. I like to keep a backpack in a small travel crate and have it readily available in the garage.
*If you have a pet-sitter, they may be able to help. Discuss the possibility well in advance. Also make a plan with a specific meeting spot to retrieve your pets should there be an emergency.
*Make arrangements with friends or relatives. Ask people outside your immediate area if they would be able to shelter you and your pets—or just your pets—if necessary. If you have more than one pet, you may need to arrange to house them at separate locations.
*Prior to a storm hitting or fire breaking out: check with hotels and motels outside your immediate area to find out if they accept pets. Ask about any restrictions on number, size and species. Inquire if a "no-pet" policy would be waived due to an emergency. Keep a list of animal-friendly places handy, and call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to leave your home.
For help identifying pet-friendly lodgings, check out these websites:
*Contact your veterinarian's office. Ask for referrals or services in outside areas. Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinary offices that might be able to shelter animals in disaster emergencies (make sure to include their 24-hour telephone numbers.)
*Check with your local animal shelter. Some shelters may be able to provide foster care or shelter for pets in an emergency. But keep in mind that shelters have limited resources and are likely to be stretched during a local emergency.
*I highly recommend playing it SAFE! If there is a threat EVACUATE EARLY!! Don't wait for a mandatory evacuation order. Some people who have waited had to be evacuated by emergency officials and their pets were often left behind. The smell of smoke, rapidly rising water, or the sound of high winds or thunder may make your pet more fearful and difficult to locate or load into a crate or carrier. Evacuating before conditions become severe will keep everyone safer and make the process much less stressful.
*IF YOU MUST EVACUATE, TAKE YOUR PET: This goes without saying. If it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your pets. You have no way of knowing how long you'll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able—or allowed—to go back and retrieve your pets. Pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost or killed. If you cannot get your pet, do not leave them chained, tied up or locked in a crate. At least give them the opportunity to escape.
4. IF YOU STAY HOME, PLAY IT SAFE: If your family and pets must wait out a storm or other disaster at home, identify a safe area of where you can all congregate.
More likely than a category 5 hurricane or F5 tornado, are everyday emergencies such as sweltering heat-waves, severe winter storms, and brush fires. There may be times that you can't get home to take care of your pets. A sudden brush fire or icy roads may trap you away from home overnight, or an accident may send you to the hospital. But you can make sure your pets get the care they need by making arrangements NOW!!
Just an hour or two in the sweltering heat can be life-threatening. If you stay at home during a summer power outage, check your local emergency center for pet-friendly cooling centers in your area. Keep a cooler filled with ice and water handy if sweltering temperatures are in the forecast. If you cannot leave, during a power/AC outage, set-up a cool zone in a bathroom where pets can sit in a tub filled with a few inches of cool water. If you have a full tank of gas, (or full charge) you can drive around in an air-conditioned car. (Do not for any reason leave a pet in a car unattended with temperatures over 70 degrees. Not even for a few minutes and not even with the windows cracked. )
Don't be fooled by your pets' fur coats; it isn't safe to leave them in an unheated house. Paws need protection from freezing ice and snow so have jackets, booties and blankets on hand should you lose power in your home.
I hope if an emergency or disaster strikes, these tips will protect both you and your beloved pets! Here’s to weathering storms safely! -Katy 💕
🐾Katy Cable is a former actress appearing in “Back To The Future” and starring in the TV series: “Safe At Home” & “ Fired Up!” In addition to her dog health & lifestyle blog/vlog: The Weekly Runt, (https://www.weeklyrunt.com/) she’s a contributing writer to numerous publications including Thrive Global, & The Huffington Post. Cable lives at the beach with her husband, Rick, and her rescue Pug, Olive.🐾