How Natural Disasters Effect Pets and What Steps to Take to Keep Them Safe

Unfortunately, it is far too often that pets are lost during natural disasters. Because these disasters occur so suddenly, people are unprepared. This causes them to lose sight of the steps that need to be taken in order to keep their pets safe before, during and after the devastation has occurred.

I have been fortunate enough to live in a very safe and comfortable environment, away from extreme temperatures, common natural disasters; earthquakes, hurricanes and volcanoes… but the truth is, you never know when or where Mother Nature will decide to use her powers. No area is immune to this.

With that being said, here is a list of steps to keep in mind. Print them out, put them on your fridge – do whatever you need to do to make sure you don’t lose one of your best friends.

  1. Know your location; be aware of common natural disasters in your area. Watch the news, listen to the radio, and simply pay attention. Just being knowledgeable will help you be prepared.
  2. Develop a plan for the ENTIRE household, including your pet!
    • Know your house well and teach your children the evacuation plan and escape routes.
  3. Know ahead of time which hotels are pet-friendly and which family members are OK with your pet staying at their house. This will be important information in case something happens to your home.
    • Here is a list of pet-friendly hotels in the Seattle area: Seattle Hotels.
  4. Keep your pet up-to-date on vaccines and annual exams. The healthier every pet is the less disease will spread, as disease often increases after a disaster has occurred due to unvaccinated pets.
  5. Put together a disaster kit” for your family, as well as your pet.
    • This should include; food, water, utensils, a can opener, pet dishes, extra means of identification for pets, photos, any medications, towels, plastic bags, extra leash and collar, flashlight and batteries, litter and box for felines, dish detergent, and a first aid kit.
    • Leave your pet’s carrier & “disaster kit” somewhere you and your children can reach it.
  6. Check your pet, after the catastrophe has occurred, for any cuts, limping, etc., and if you see any major problems, take them immediately to a veterinary hospital.

Keep in mind that stress may cause your pet to act differently. Just understand that this is their way of communicating that they’re scared. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your pets’ behavior, be sure to speak with your veterinarian.

Preparing your household for an unforeseen disaster can significantly improve your odds for survival. The more proactive you are the better. So definitely use these tips and be sure to share them with your friends and family!

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