As we're in hurricane season, it's time to begin thinking about how to better prepare your loved ones, including those we call our pets.
There are a lot of online resources and websites that provide great information and tips on how to best prepare your pet. However, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has five easy ways to prepare your pets for an emergency:
1) Identify a shelter. Before disaster hits, call your local office of emergency management to see if you will be allowed to evacuate with your pets and that there will be shelters that take people and their pets in your area.
And just to be safe, track down a pet-friendly safe place for your family and pets. Most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters will need your pet's medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current.
2) Pack a pet kit. Take pet food, bottled water, medications, veterinary records, cat litter/pan, manual can opener, food dishes, first aid kit and other supplies with you in case they're not available later. Each pet is unique, but each pet needs the basics in case of an emergency.
3) Update your pet's ID. Make sure identification tags are up-to-date and securely fastened to your pet's collar. If possible, attach the address and/or phone number of your evacuation site. If your pet gets lost, his tag is his ticket home.
4) Protect your pet during a disaster. Animals have instincts about severe weather changes and will often isolate themselves if they are afraid. Bringing them inside early can stop them from running away.
Even if your dogs and cats normally get along, the anxiety of an emergency situation can cause pets to act irrationally. Understanding what to expect during a disaster is crucial.
5) Keep an eye on your pet after an emergency. The behavior of your pets may change after an emergency. Normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive.
Watch animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard with access to shelter and water. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered, and your pet may become confused and lost.
Remember to keep taking care of them even after the disaster.
-- Prepare with ASPCA Mobile App
With hurricane season right around the corner, the ASPCA Mobile App shows pet owners exactly what to do in case of a natural disaster.
Available for free download in the App Store and Google Play, users are able to access critical advice on what to do with your pet before, during and after a major storm -- even if there's no data connectivity.
It also includes a section to store and manage a pet's personal health records, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to search for a lost animal in a variety of circumstances.
Get the app by visiting www.bit.ly/ASPCAapp.
Additionally, pet owners are encouraged to order a free rescue alert sticker at https://www.aspca.org/form/free-pet-safety-pack.