Natural disasters bombard our cities and push people and pets alike out of their homes and fleeing to safety. Just recently, Hurricane Harvey swept through Houston and the rest of the Gulf Coast, placing many people and their pets in danger. Though residents may know of a hurricane and another natural disaster's pending arrival, there is only so much you can do given a few days warning. If you live in an area where you may be exposed to natural disasters like flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and more, you can never be too prepared. Here are 4 steps to create a disaster preparedness plan for you and your pet:
1. Get a Pet Rescue Alert Sticker
The ASPCA has Rescue Alert stickers for pet parents to put in their window. These stickers will let people outside of your home know that there may be pets inside your home during an emergency or disaster. In the case of a natural disaster, if you've taken your pets out of the home, remember to cross out the sticker to let people outside of your home know that there are no pets inside needing to be rescued.
2. Prepare a Pet Safety Kit
When a natural disaster hits, you're likely in a scramble to get to safety. Having a Pet Safety Kit already prepared and ready to go can be a big help in a stressful time. Extra updated IDs, extra leashes and collars, updated photos of your pet(s), vet/medical records, pet food, water, crate, blankets, or any other necessary items that are crucial to your pet's wellbeing.
3. Coordinate A Safe Zone for Your Pet
In the case of an emergency or natural disaster, you should not leave your pets behind if you evacuate. A good rule of thumb is that if it's not safe for you, it's not safe for your pets. Though temporary shelters can take in humans, they do not always allow pets. It's important to identify the safe zone shelters or lodging near you that allow pets, boarding facilities or friends and family that may be able to care for your pet in the event that you are unable to.
4. Purchase Pet Insurance
Pet insurance is great in any case but it could be especially useful if there is a naural disaster in your town. There are several different options out there, but Petplan is one of our favorites! Pet insurance can help you pay unexpected veterinary bills in times of need.
The Best Friends Pet Hotel and Lakefield Veterinary Group have come together to donate to our team members in Houston, Texas. Houston is home to 12 of our hospitals and pet hotels, and many of them sustained overwhelming loses due to the severe flooding that occurred during and after Hurricane Harvey. Numerous doctors and team members selflessly worked to treat sick, injured and lost pets in the aftermath of the storm. If you'd like to learn more about the heroic stories of our team and our donation efforts, please visit our Houston Strong page.