feeding strays

Being prepared for emergencies isn't something most of us think about. We never imagine anything bad will happen to us or our families or homes, and when it does, we're often not ready for it. Here are a few tips to help you keep your pets safe during an emergency.

• Most emergencies aren't huge natural disasters. Usually it's a medical or personal emergency that affects just your family, and may require you to be away from home for a day or two, or even longer. Make arrangements with a trusted friend or neighbor to care for your animals should such an emergency occur. Be sure they have a key to your home and show them where your pet's food, litter, leashes, medical supplies, medical records, etc. are located.

• You never know when you might need to evacuate your home. Even if you don't live in a hurricane-prone area, flooding, wildfires, or chemical spills may force you from your home. If you do have to evacuate, take your pets with you. Over 90% of animals left behind in a natural disaster do not survive. Leaving your pets behind is not an option.

• Prepare an evacuation kit with food, water, carriers, collars, ID tags, leashes, litter, medical supplies, and emergency contact numbers for family, friends, veterinarians, and pet-friendly hotels outside your area. You don't want to be scrambling for these items during a crisis. Be sure to include a small amount of cash, whatever you can afford. It will come in very handy during an emergency.

• If you know you will be unable to care for your pets during an emergency because of health, disability or financial reasons, contact your veterinarian, friends, family, your church, or local animal shelters NOW to find someone who can help you during a crisis. You will be better able to deal with an emergency if you know your pets will be cared for.

We hope disaster never strikes, but we cannot control the whims of Mother Nature. We can only be prepared. I know you all love your pets, so please - take the time now to be sure they'll be safe during an emergency.

Click here for a free, printable Pet Emergency Readiness Checklist.