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Emergency Preparedness For You And Your Pets

Scared Kitty

(NAPSI)-When disaster strikes at home, it's important to be prepared. This means having an action plan that not only includes people in the family, but also pets.

According to PetsMart, a leading pet superstore chain, families should plan in advance how to take care of their pets during emergencies. A little preparation can make things a lot easier in case of a hurricane, storm, earthquake, fire or other emergency situation. The following expert tips from PetsMart can help prepare pet owners and their animal friends:

Emergency Kit

Maintain a well-stocked emergency kit for your pet. It should include extra cans of food, a can opener and spoon, bottled water, an extra collar and leash, a blanket and a muzzle. These items will help ensure the well-being of your pet.

Veterinary Records

Records of vaccinations and recent veterinary care should be kept with other important family medical records. As an extra precaution, record current phone numbers of animal shelters, kennels and veterinary hospitals.

Proper Identification

Make sure your pet has proper identification. Sometimes pets become separated from their owners; that is why ID tags are essential. With dogs and cats this can be fairly easy, just attach an ID tag to the pet's collar. Make sure the information will be valid even if you are forced to evacuate-include an alternate phone number. For pets that don't wear collars, i.e. rabbits, hamsters, turtles, etc., place this information somewhere on the pet's cage or carrier.

Evacuation Plan

A family evacuation plan can ensure that all your loved ones reach a safe location without the dangers of becoming lost or separated. This plan should also include your pets. Make sure there is a designated person responsible for placing the pet in its carrier or on a leash, and taking it to a safe place.

Use a Muzzle

Under emergency situations, animals may become nervous or frightened. For dogs and cats, this increases the likelihood of biting. Having a muzzle handy can help prevent this from happening.

Scout Emergency Shelters

If you must evacuate your home and stay at a local emergency shelter, make sure the shelter can accommodate pets. Doing research ahead of time can save you the headache of driving around trying to find a shelter that will accept pets. Call your local humane society to get information on shelters in your area that are "pet-friendly."

Travel Smart

If your evacuation plan includes traveling long distances, make sure you stop every two hours to allow your dog to get some exercise and provide it with fresh distilled water. Do not leave your pet unattended inside your vehicle.

Have a Pet Carrier

Make sure you have a pet carrier to provide the pet with its own personal space during transit and after the immediate danger has passed. This can also help reduce the likelihood of losing your pet.

Take a Picture

In the untimely event that you are separated from your pet, make sure you have recent pictures of it and immediately notify the proper authorities, such as local animal shelters, local animal control, area veterinarians. and a newspaper's pet column or lost-and-found section.

Stay Calm

Perhaps the most important piece of advice is to make sure your pet knows it's being well cared for. Nurturing your pet can help it understand that you are concerned about its safety and will protect it. After all, pets are family.

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