Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe During a Natural Disaster

We don’t think that it will happen to us until it does. We often don’t take the time to think, plan or prepare for a natural disaster or a state of emergency. We hear about these things all of the time on the news but don’t think they will actually occur. If you live in the Brantford area, you have likely heard of the state of emergency that we are slowly recovering from. The grand river flooded, forcing thousands of people to leave their homes and seek emergency shelter.

Living within reasonable proximity of the river, my first thought was what am I going to do with my Diesel, (my dog and best friend) if my house is at risk of a flood and we have to evacuate. At first, I thought I would run out and get him a life jacket, literally, and then we would go to a safe area. Luckily for me, my parents have always been very open to my dog coming along with me anytime I go to their homes. Some people don’t have this luxury, unfortunately. I also thought, what if the state of emergency wasn’t a flood? What if in the middle of the night there is a tornado or fire? I realized that life is not always as predictable as it may seem at times and I need to be educated on what to do so I can act quickly when these situations arise. Not only for my animal’s safety but my own.

Here is a small list of tips I found and things I should know to help keep your animals safe during a natural disaster:

• Some shelters will allow animals and some will not.
• Make sure animals are wearing proper identification, ie. Identity tags including owner’s information, collar and microchips are especially helpful in case pets get lost during the chaos.
• Make sure you are well stocked with medications and food.
• Plan an escape route and stay up to date with local news.
• Keep leashes and carriers in an easily accessible area in case you need to leave quickly.
• In cold weather, put a blanket over the carrier to keep the animal warm. Do not transport a carrier with water inside.
• Do not tether animals together.
• Do not lock animals in cars. The temperatures can change and become very dangerous for them.
• If you have no choice but to leave your animals behind, put them in an upstairs room with lots of water and food and close the door to the room.
• Leave a sign on the door to say that there are animals inside if a rescue team has to come to the location.
• Never risk your own life or another human life to save an animal.

Remember, being prepared is always the best way to prevent an emergency situation from getting worse. Planning ahead will prevent you from going into a state of panic in the event an emergency occurs and will help keep you and your furry friends safe.

Written by Lisa Tlustos, Clinic Manager