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Posted on 11-16-2012

In the devastating wake of Superstorm Sandy, we at Eagle Animal Hospital want to remind you to take extra precautions and remember to include your pets in you emergency safety plans. We understand how important your pets are to you and the following guidelines can help you be sure all your family members are safe in the event of a natural disaster.

When a natural disaster strikes, it is often with little warning. Finding a place that is safe for you and your pets in the event of evacuation can be difficult, but preparing ahead of time can help. Most emergency shelters will not allow pets, so you will often have to make other arrangements for them. Ask a friend or relative if they can shelter you and your pets. Look for pet-friendly hotels in your area. You can find listings at petswelcome.com or pets-allowed-hotels.com. Ask your local boarding facilities, human societies, and animal control shelters about their restrictions and policies. Keep a list of these facilities in your emergency kit. If you must leave your pets behind, secure them in a bathroom to keep them safe. Supply them with plenty of food and adequate water (leave drinking water in the bath tub). Alert local officials that your pets are in your home.Junior_1.JPG

Just as you may have an emergency kit assembled for your family, have one available for each pet. Whether you stay home or evacuate, keep a pet's emergency kit with your family's. Secure all items in a zip lock bag to prevent damage. Items should include: collar with tags and a sturdy leash, a two week supply of any medication you pet may be taking, photocopied health records, recent photos of you with your pet, a two week supply of food and bottled water (bowls for each), general first aid supplies (bandages, tape, tweezers, ect), secure crate/carrier, flashlight/radio/batteries, favorite toy or bedding, and cleaning supplies (disposable baggies, newspaper, ect).

Have your pets prepared before any emergency strikes. Make sure they are wearing collars with current identification information. Even better, you can have them implanted with a microchip as a form of permanent identification. Keep your pets current on all vaccines and health issues. Have a photograph taken of you with you pet to prove ownership if needed. Window decals can be helpful in letting rescue worker know pets live in your home.

If you decide to stay at home, or cannot leave, take your pets with you to a safe area of the house. Make sure your pets are on a leash at all times, or in a crate/carrier. This allows them to be securely moved if needed, ensures you know where they are at all times, and provides some comfort. Try to remain calm at all times. If you are calm, your pet will be calmer.

After an emergency, things can remain confusing and dangerous to you and your pets. If emergency officials advise you to remain in your home, keep your pets there too. Once officials say it is safe, walk your pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to the area and your home. If you have lost your pet, contact local animal control officers to find where lost pets can be recovered. Bring along the photo of you and your pet. Once able, have your pet evaluated by one of our veterinarians to ensure they are healthy.

Eagle Animal Hospital serves Chester Springs, Downingtown, Exton, Glenmoore, and surrounding areas.

Written by David Matunis, VMD

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