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Don’t forget your pets in your family’s emergency preparedness plan

National Animal Preparedness Day
National Animal Preparedness Day

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Saturday, May 8, is National Animal Preparedness Day.

All the disasters we faced over the last year -- and we’re not just talking about COVID-19 -- are a reminder we need to be prepared, not just for ourselves, but for our pets. There were tornadoes in the Midwest, earthquakes and wildfires across the country and hurricanes in Florida. And hurricane season 2021 begins June 1.

The fact is, our pets are part of our families. They are our four-legged kids. And just like establishing an emergency plan for your human family, you should develop one for your pets as well.

Establish a safe space for your pets. Have a plan with a neighbor or friend to help if you’re not home. Make sure they know where your pet’s emergency supplies are. Give them important phone numbers like local Animal Control, local boarding and their veterinarians.

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Have your pets microchipped, and make sure your information is up to date with the microchip company.

Make sure your pets are crate trained, just in case they have to be boarded in a shelter.

Also, practice traveling with them so they are OK in cars.

Have a dedicated pet emergency pack ready! Items should include plenty of water -- ½ to 1 oz per pound of body weight per day is recommended. Also have food, a pet-friendly first aid kit, bowls for food and water, a slip lead so you can get your pets out quickly and any medications. It’s recommended you have a five-day minimum of supplies.

Also have waste disposal bags, and an LED light in case you have to evacuate at night in the kit. Other things to include are a blanket for warmth, toys if you wind up in a hotel, and for cats, a litter box, as well as scoop and litter.

It’s important you pack an ID card and a photo of you and your pet for identification should you be separated. Have an up-to-date copy of your pet’s shot records.

It can be devastating to have to leave your pet behind or lose your pet because you weren’t prepared for a disaster. That’s why disaster preparedness experts say you shouldn’t procrastinate and should put disaster kits together for your families and your four-legged kids, now!


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