For those living in the Northeast, we know that you all have been rushing around to get flashlights, non-perishables, bottled water, fuel and batteries as Hurricane Sandy threatens millions. As you hear about evacuation plans and hurricane preparedness we wanted to make sure that you also make proper preparations for your pets. It is estimated that 62% of families in the United States own a pet, totaling approximately 358 million pets. In a recent survey by Zogby International, 61% of pet owners indicated that they would not evacuate without their beloved animals. As you can surmise, you can count us among that 61%. So, in an effort to help you and your pet family be more prepared, the following is a checklist for any and all pet owners:
- Food and Water: The HSUS of the United States suggests bringing 5 days of food and water for every pet you own. Please remember to put dry food in airtight containers and if you give your dog wet food in a can don’t forget the can opener! AND, don’t forget the bowls. There are travel size and collapsible bowls available in pet stores and online.
- IDENTIFICATION: Make sure your dog is wearing a collar/harness with ID that includes your cellphone number. If you can add an additional phone number add someone out of town who may not be affected by the storm and may be better able to accept a phone call should you become separated from your pet. It is a good idea to have current photos as well as detailed markings of your pet in case you are separated. (Friendly reminder here to make sure you get your animals microchipped if they aren’t already. This greatly increases the chances of you and your animal being reunited.)
- Waste disposal: Make sure you have a cat litter box and cat litter for 5 days. For dogs make sure you have waste bags ready. Abby and Zoey are trained to go outside but due to the conditions we have wee wee pads on hand so we do not need to leave the house unless we have to. Also, bring a garbage bag for the waste.
- Comfort: Try to bring your pet’s favorite toy, blanket or bed to help decrease the amount of stress put on the animal during a possible evacuation and transition.
- Carrier: Have your pet’s animal carrier ready along with all of your evacuation materials. These are helpful to transport your pet safely and to ensure that they cannot escape. Please make sure your pet has room to comfortably stand, turn around and lie down while in the carrier.
- Medical: Make sure you have your pet’s current medications, medical records, vaccinations, and pet first aid kit packed in a waterproof container to take with you should you need to evacuate.
- Collars/Harnesses/Leashes: Make sure these are sturdy and your pet is used to wearing them. Please remember to keep identification on your pets at all times.
Best of luck to all of our readers and to their pets over the next few days. We hope everyone on 2 and 4 legs is safe and sound!