By Wanda Merling, senior manager of the disaster services program for the Animal Rescue Team at The Humane Society of the United States:
We at The Humane Society of the United States know that Groupon customers love animals, so I thought the blogs at Groupon would be a great place to share information about protecting your pets when disaster strikes. The key is having a good emergency plan and kit prepared.
Residents in the path of a storm should keep their pets indoors if they are staying at home, but if asked or ordered to evacuate in the face of a potentially destructive storm, pet owners should always bring their animals with them. If it’s not safe for you to be at home, then it’s not safe for your pets.
The path and strength of tornadoes, hurricanes, and tropical storms are often uncertain. The best thing you can do is to prepare ahead of time, and to help you get ready, we have put together a checklist of things pet owners can do to prepare for a potential evacuation:
- Make sure that all pets, including indoor-only pets, wear a collar with visible identification.
- Keep pictures of your pets on hand for identification purposes. Ideally, you should also be in the photo.
- Talk to your neighbors about how they can help your pets if you are not at home when disaster strikes.
- Create a list of hotels and boarding facilities that allow pets in the city where you’ll go in case of an emergency. Plan on evacuating about 100 miles inland for hurricanes and tropical storms
- If you plan to stay with family members, discuss bringing pets ahead of time.
- Create a pet emergency kit that is available for you to quickly grab and go and includes all of the following:
- At least a three-day supply of both drinking water and food. Store food in an airtight, waterproof container and be sure to include a can opener if necessary
- Bowls for food and water
- Current photos and a physical description of your pets, including details on markings
- Medications, vaccination records, and pet first-aid supplies
- Comfort items such as a toy and blanket
- Small garbage bags
- Paper towels
- For dogs, include: leash, harness, and a sturdy carrier large enough to use as a sleeping area
- For cats, include: litter and litter box and a sturdy carrier large enough for transport
When disaster strikes, the same rule that applies to people applies to pets: preparation makes all the difference. You can join The Humane Society of the United States and thousands of pet owners across the country in a pledge to take your pets with you when disaster strikes. For more information on how to prepare for disasters, please visit humanesociety.org/prepare.
Wanda Merling is the senior manager of the disaster services program for the Animal Rescue Team at The Humane Society of the United States. With her strong background in coalition building and crisis management, Merling facilitates new and innovative methods of rescue and recovery for people and their pets during natural disasters.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization. Since 1954, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. It rescues and cares for tens of thousands of animals each year, but its primary mission is to prevent cruelty before it occurs, both across the United States and around the world. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty – on the Web at humanesociety.org.