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Disaster Preparedness Tips For Pet Owners

Your pets are very vulnerable and depend on you for their safety. Even if you live in an area that is not prone to natural disasters,  tragedy can happen without warning. To provide care for your pets during an emergency situation, it is important to have a disaster plan in place.

So what constitutes a disaster? Quite a few events:
avalanche or mud slide, blizzard, broken gas main, building collapse, chemical spill, earthquake, explosion, fire/wildfire, flood, tornado, lightning strike, long term power or water loss are possible disasters in Colorado. In May 2011, a train wreck in Monument, Colorado, forced over 150 people out of their homes  for 4 days while crews cleaned up a chemical spill.

Before a disaster strikes there are three things to be aware  of: 1) many emergency shelters, including most American Red Cross facilities, do not allow pets due to sanitation regulations. 2) contact local veterinarians, pet sitters and kennels to see if they will admit your pet should there be an  emergency, and 3) check local hotels, and motels to see if they would allow you to stay there with a pet during an emergency.

You may have an emergency disaster plan and kit for your
family and not have added things you pets will need. So add these items to your disaster kit.

  • A week’s supply of food for each pet
  • Can opener
  • 1 gallon of fresh water per pet
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Favorite toys or treats
  • Spare collar with ID tags
  • Grooming items
  • Secure change and leash
  • Crate or carrier
  • Pet first aid kit

You may want to have an electronic chip for each cat or dog in your household. An alternative would be a collar and your pet registration info. Register your pets at the El Paso County Humane Society and have the  collar on your pet in case you become separated. Also keep a current photo of your pet with your pet kit.  You may want to keep your pet in its crate or on a leash to limit your pets’ exposure to danger. For smaller crated animals, place information somewhere on the crate as a tag or label that can be seen by an emergency worker.

What should be in your pet first aid kit, you ask? It may have many of the items you have in your family’s first aid kit. It takes a few minutes to add more of the items you have and to add things for your pet. So, here is a list of suggested items:

  • Sterile gauze pads and bandages
  • Adhesive tape
  • Bandage scissors and tweezers
  • Triangular bandage (for a sling and also a
    temporary muzzle)
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Hydrogen peroxide 3%
  • Triple antibiotic ointment
  • Sterile saline solution
  • Cotton swabs
  • Activated charcoal tabs and Maalox ®
  • Thermometer
  • Plastic gloves and disposable plastic bags
  • Penlight with fresh batteries
  • Large towel or blanket
  • Shampoo and antibacterial soap
  • Temporary muzzle
  • Name, address, phone number and hours of your
    veterinarian and the nearest emergency veterinarian clinic.

To get further assistance for your pet emergency plans, contact The American Humane Association, ,  63 Inverness Drive East, Englewood, CO 80112-5117, (303) 792-9900, or contact Aunt Kit Pet Nanny for assistance.

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