With the recent flooding in Texas and Florida  and wildfires in Montana, natural disasters are at the forefront of many people’s minds. Perhaps you have seen the photos of animal rescues and wonder what you would do in the same situation. During National Disaster Preparedness Month, the Centers for Disease Control encourages everyone to create a response plan for natural disasters such as blizzards, floods, fires, and tornadoes. This can be a little more challenging when you have pets.

Create a Separate Disaster Kit for Your Pets
It’s hard to predict how you might act in times of severe stress. That’s why advanced preparation is so important. Here is what the CDC recommends including in your disaster kit for a pet:
  • Pet food in an airtight container and fresh water to last for two weeks
  • Plastic bags to place dog waste and a litter box for cats
  • Cleaning and grooming supplies
  • Enough of each pet’s medication to last for two weeks
  • Secure pet carriers 
  • Pet harness and leash
  • Toys and personal bedding
Written care instructions in case you become separated from your pet. Be sure to include your name and contact details, your pet’s medications and list of vaccines, contact details of Battletown Animal Clinic, and any behavior challenges.
Other Tips for Disaster Planning
Your pet’s tag and collar could easily come off amidst the chaos of a natural disaster, so it’s a good idea to have a microchip implanted. This allows anyone who finds your dog or cat to bring him to a shelter or veterinary clinic where the staff can scan him to retrieve your contact information. Be sure to label each carrier with the pet’s name as well as your name and contact details.
Another CDC recommendation is to keep a harness or leash close to the exit door in your home. Distressed pets may run away from you, so it’s much easier to control your dog or cat by using a leash or harness.
Although no one likes to think a disaster will affect them, decide where you would seek shelter and include the details in your disaster plan. If you’re able to remain in your home, choose one room to place your pet and provide her with food and water. Be sure to check on her often and provide as much comfort as you can.
You may have no choice but to separate from your pet if you need to evacuate your home. In that case, having a list of nearby boarding facilities and shelters can make things a little easier. 
Remember That Disease Can Spread Quickly
During a natural disaster, your pet may be exposed to severe weather, standing water, wild animals, other pets, and large numbers of people. Unfortunately, disease spreads more quickly in these situations. Keeping up with your pet’s preventive care exams and vaccines is the best way to ensure his health in the aftermath of a disaster. Please contact Battletown Animal Clinic at 540-955-2171 if you need to schedule an appointment. 
Photo Credit: A Dog's Life Photo / Getty Images