Is your pet included in your natural disaster evacuation plan in the event of a flood, hurricane or fire? Whether or not you are prepared for a natural disaster will be the difference between life and death for your entire family, including your pet. Remember you are the key to your pets survival and they depend and trust you with their lives. Proper planning beforehand can help you remain calm & panic free in an otherwise stressful situation, ensure your pets safety & give you a piece of mind. Here a few natural disaster preparedness pet safety tips to keep your pet protected from the elements and out of harms way.

1. Proper ID & Tags . It is important that your pet wears tags at all times so your pet can be properly identified.  Maintaining up-to-date identification information on collar tags is important. Also, pet implanted microchips are great in case your collar falls off and becomes lost. Proper means of identification can help pet owners reunite with pets much quicker when natural disasters cause them to be separated.

2. Pack Pet Medications. Have an adequate supply of medication the pet might be on.

As a side note: If your dog requires medication, make sure that you put that information on the dog’s collar. You can write it in permanent marker on the inside of the collar to alert caregiver.

3. Buy a waterproof container. Use this container to keep pet records, current photo and description in a safe waterproof place. Again, this can be instrumental in helping to reunite with a lost pet.

4. Keep your pet healthy. Keep up to date with vaccinations and pet health visits to the veterinarian.

5. Put together a box of pet supplies. Store at least a 3-day supply of pet food, food and water bowls, cat litter and litter box, first aid kit, extra leashes and collars. Also, keep the waterproof container with important pet information next to or in this box. Keep this in an easy to get to place in your home.

6.  Have on hand a proper-sized pet carrier. It will be easier to transport a pet during a natural disaster by keeping them contained in a pet carrier.

7. Design an emergency plan. It is important to have a plan of action, what you plan to do with your pet(s) during a possible natural disaster. Take time to think through all the possible scenarios like whether or not you will be able to board the pet or does the place you are planning to go to accept pets. Ask the veterinarian for suggestions.

8. Always try to bring pets along when evacuating. It is always in the best interest of the pet to stay with the owner, because a pet left behind has a better chance of becoming lost, hurt or worse. Definitely do not chain or cage a pet and leave them behind during a natural disaster. This will limit their ability to use their own natural instincts to stay safe.

9. Plan to leave and evacuate early. Waiting till the last minute will almost always make it impossible to bring a pet along.

10. Have a backup plan. In the event that a natural disaster strikes and you are not able to get home, ask a reliable neighbor to assist in evacuating the pet. Make sure this person has a spare key, knows the pet and is familiar with where the emergency pet supplies are stored.

11.  Find a place of refuge that is pet-friendly Call up potential hotel & motels,  places you may use as an evacuation safe place and see if they welcome pets ahead of time. For places that do not allow pets, find out if there is a local animal shelter in the area that can board the pet.

12. Place a sticker on the front door. The sticker should identify the presence of the pet that resides at the home. This will alert rescue people that there is a pet in need of rescue in the event that the pet had to be left behind.

13. Bring the pet indoors. When the natural disaster is eminent, do not leave the pet outside this will only increase their chances of being harmed.

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