If disaster strikes, are you and your pet ready?
Following the tragic earthquake/tsunami in Japan, it is important for all of us to think about how we can prepare ourselves to care for our pets in the case of a natural disaster. If one were to strike, would we have the knowledge and supplies necessary to respond to injured pets? Wendy Diamond has compiled a list of tips to assist us and our helpless animal friends if and when tragedy strikes.
1. Make an Animal Emergency Kit! This should include a cat carrier, gauze, a nylon leash, towels, enough water and easy-to-open cat or dog food to last at least two weeks, gloves, bedding, any medicine your pet or another animal may need, and contact information for the humane society or any animal or wildlife rescue.
2. If you see an animal stranded on the side of the road or in need of help approach gently and non-threateningly. It is important to stay low to the ground while avoiding eye contact; talk quietly.
3. If you think an animal may have passed away very gently and calmly touch the edge of the animal’s eyes to see if there is an eye reflex. If so, bring the animal to the nearest vet, animal hospital, or animal shelter. If the animal has sadly died, call Wild Life Control.
4. If the animal is bleeding apply pressure with a clean towel, cloth, or piece of material and wrap the wound using gauze or a bandage. Bring the animal to a vet, animal hospital, or shelter.
5. If you come across wildlife in need please stop and help. Wrap them gently in a clean towel or piece of fabric. If they are small enough to fit into a cardboard box (with air holes!) place them inside and bring them to a vet, animal hospital, or animal shelter.
6. Make sure your pets are well protected in any emergency! Set up a pet-rescue action plan with a trusted neighbor or near-by relative. Should you be away or unable to tend to your pet in the event of a disaster there will be someone to maintain the welfare of your beloved animal. Leave a key, instructions, and a decal on a clearly visible door or window to alert those able to help how many pets are inside.
7. Keep a proper ID on your pet at all times! We are not always given warning or time to prepare should there be calamity. By ensuring your pet always wears his or her proper id you are actively improving their lives-and this is true in all situations, not just natural disasters. Should you become separated in any instance, the chances of finding each other again increases significantly! Microchips are also extremely important aspect of pet id-ing as a collar can fall off, or be destroyed. Talk to your vet about this and be sure to register the micro-chip with a pet located service.
8. If you have to evacuate do not leave your pet! Include them is any evacuation system planning. If you don’t the chances of finding then again, and finding them in safe condition are slim to none. You may believe you’ll have a chance to retrieve them soon enough, but you may not be able to return home for months, if at all. If you must evacuate your home never leave your animal behind!
9. Find out what hotels and/or motels allow pets. In the event of an evacuation you may find yourself miles from home with nowhere to stay, when you add a pet to the mix this can become double complicated. Do a check of any hotels and motels within a 50 to 100 mile radius, and be sure to have the contact information somewhere handy and always available!
10. Keep a list of nearby shelters both for yourself, and for those who may end up rescuing your animal for you. Chaos does not begin to describe the environment of a disaster, you want to be sure taking care of your pet is an easy as possible. If you are not at home at the time of the disaster, or for some reason cannot keep your pet with you once you have evacuated, you need to be able to bring your pet to a safe place quickly and efficiently.
Hopefully, we will never have the occasion to stare a disaster in the eye; however, if we do, we owe it to ourselves and our beloved pets to be as prepared as possible.