Severe Weather Prep for Your Pet

Hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires; weather happens no matter where you live.

It’s likely your area will experience severe weather, especially with changing climatic conditions. Disaster preparedness before an emergency strikes is crucial, and when planning for severe weather, don’t forget to include your pets in your prep. Here are three steps to take now.

Build a Pet-Friendly First Aid Kit

Many of the items in your family’s first aid kit (and you do have one, right?) can be repurposed in case of a pet emergency. For instance, you can use the same antiseptic and antibacterial products to clean your pet’s injuries. However, there are additional pet-specific items that should be a part of your kit. For instance, since an adhesive bandage wouldn’t work to wrap a pet’s wounds, gauze and wrap is necessary. The Humane Society recommends an extensive list of items—some of which already will be in your human family’s first aid kit—but use common sense for what type of emergency you might face in your area. Or, you can always purchase a pre-made pet first aid kit from the ASPCA.

Stash a Disaster Preparedness Kit

Plan for the type of disaster typical for your area when you create your kit. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides all the specific information you need for each type of disaster at their site. They recommend that, regardless of the disaster, your preparedness kit include enough food, water, and supplies to last 72 hours. That’s for every member of your family plus your pets. That includes your pet’s food, plenty of water, and veterinary records. If there’s a little space left in your kit, squeeze in a chew toy or bone to keep your dog occupied.

Establish an Evacuation Plan

Before an emergency, your family should have an evacuation plan and meetup location in place. Some parts of the country have evacuation routes and shelters in place. Unfortunately, not all welcome pets. Find that out in advance, and create an alternative meeting spot if needed. Evacuation shelters that do allow pets require that they be crated, so be sure you have a portable crate sized appropriately for your dog or cat. And train your pets to enter the crate and relax comfortably prior to an emergency. FEMA provides an extensive set of guidelines for how to appropriately evacuate and care for your pet in an emergency. Read and print this information before disaster strikes.

Being prepared is the best way to survive severe weather and natural disasters. Take these three steps now with your pets in mind to be ready when disaster strikes.

Meet the Author: Maggie Marton

Maggie is a writer and author, whose first book, Clicker Dog Training: The Better Path to a Well-Behaved Pup was published by Open Air Publishing. When she's not writing (or reading books about grammar), she teaches writing courses to college students and professionals who want to nail down the basics of communication. Outside of work, she hikes, throws dinner parties, plays with her three dogs and cat, and travels as much as possible.

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