4 Steps to Take NOW to Protect Your Pets During a Natural Disaster

Hurricane season is just around the corner and it's better to be prepared before a possible emergency than to be caught in the middle of a storm. Having an emergency evacuation plan for you and your pet can make the difference between life and death for both of you.

Here are four steps you can take today to prepare your pet in case of a natural disaster:

Include your pet in your emergency evacuation plan.

Before an emergency actually happens, consider calling or finding out where the local animal shelters are located in case of an emergency in your area. Red Cross shelters and other emergency shelters do not allow pets to come in with their owners, so it's a good idea to start planning now rather than waiting last minute. You may also want to contact friends or family that might be able to take you and your pets in, or find a pet hotel outside the evacuation area and have them on speed dial in case of an emergency. Just make sure not to leave your pets behind if you are ordered to evacuate; it is not safe for you and neither for your pets.

Prepare an emergency kit for your pet.

While you're preparing an emergency kit for yourself, prepare one for your pet as well. In the kit include doggie bags or cat litter, two weeks' worth of food and water, a bowl, a toy or something that soothes your pet, a brush, your pet's vaccination report card, a leash, a collar ID (if your pet normally doesn't wear one), a picture of your pet with their name and your contact information on the back.

Engraved Pet ID tags online

Schedule a visit with the veterinarian.

During emergencies, pets can become stressed, disoriented, and even wander outdoors and get lost. Pets are exposed to dirty water, fleas, and diseases. Don’t wait for an emergency to happen, schedule a visit to the vet and get your pet current with all its vaccinations and flea and tick medication. Also, because your pet can get lost, make sure to get your pet micro-chipped during this visit; by micro-chipping your pet you increase the chances of getting reunited in the case you were to get separated.

Have your pet's crate handy.

Make sure your pet's crate is handy, easily accessible, and next to your pet's emergency kit. Get a large enough crate where your pet can move around because during emergencies it is best to keep pets in their crates for their own safety.

Remember, the best plan is to have a plan and even a backup plan! Pets are like family and they should be included in all emergency evacuation plans in order to ensure their safety.