(Welcome to the weekly pet column of Pet Connection Programs Inc. of Marilla, N.Y. A new article is posted each week, so be sure to check back on a regular basis!)
Natural disasters affect every member of the family, including our pets. In an effort to keep our four legged family members safe and promote preparedness during the storm season, Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance, has released its Natural Disaster Pet Safety Guide.
In anticipation of severe weather, Nationwide encourages pet owners to prepare a grab-and-go bag filled with essential pet supplies, including:
• Bottled water
• Pet food (enough for at least five days)
• Any medication your pet is on
• Portable feeding bowls
• Collar with identification tag and cell phone number
• Current photos of your pets
• List of emergency contacts including your veterinarian
• Copy of pet vaccination records
• Leash for dogs, pet carrier for cats or small pets
• Waste bags
• First-aid kit
A pet carrier will provide your pet with safe housing on the go, and can be used to store all of your pet emergency items in one place. Keep food, water and medications current by rotating supplies on a periodic basis.
Locate Veterinary Resources
Pet owners should become knowledgeable of local emergency veterinary hospitals in their community and surrounding areas. If a pet becomes injured in the midst of a natural disaster, prompt veterinary care may help limit long-term damage. The most common disaster related pet injuries are smoke inhalation, blunt force trauma and lacerations.
Locate a Pet Refuge
Nationwide encourages pet owners to familiarize themselves with local pet-centric resources within their area. Pet shelters are often used as temporary holding facilities for lost pets during a catastrophe. Awareness of pet friendly hotels outside the immediately affected area can prevent owners and their pets from being separated in the event of housing displacement.
“The effects of a natural disaster can have a major impact on the lives of household pets,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for Nationwide. “We encourage pet owners to incorporate their pet’s well being into their storm preparations. Having the correct supplies and resources on hand can ensure a pet’s safety and prevent him or her from becoming separated from their family.”
(For more information on pets and animal adoption, please visit www.petconnectionprogramsinc.com. Or, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PetConnectionProgramsinc. Located in Marilla, N.Y., Pet Connection Programs Inc. is a nonprofit maternity and special care shelter founded in 1984.)