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Wednesday, 28 May 2014 14:05

Emergency Pet Preparedness

When making plans of what to do in case of an emergency, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry reminds you to include provisions for the family pet. By taking some small steps, pet owners can ensure their animals are prepared for severe weather and natural disasters.

Basic needs like food, water and any necessary medication are essential components in a disaster kit for your pet. It is recommended to keep a three day supply of these items on hand and ready to go.

Means of identification should also be a part of emergency preparedness. Pets should wear a collar or harness with current Rabies tag and ID tag at all time. Speak to your veterinarian about equipping your pet with a microchip as a permanent form of identification. Having an up-to-date photo of you and your pet is also a good idea. Should you and your pet become separated, this will aid in proof of ownership.

If you plan to use a storm shelter, be sure to familiarize your pet with the area ahead of time.

"By having your pet in and around the storm shelter ahead of time, you can minimize their stress when a disaster makes using the shelter necessary," said Dr. Alicia Gorczyca-Southerland, ODAFF Staff Veterinarian. "Including favorite treats, toys and bedding can also ease your pet's stress during and following a disaster."

Should you need to evacuate, collapsible cages are a safe and efficient way to transport your animals with you. Cages should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down. Attach your contact information to the cage.

Your plan should also include a predetermined evacuation site for your family and pets. Consider places like pet friendly hotels, boarding facilities and veterinary hospitals. It is extremely important to secure a temporary shelter before a disaster. Many public shelters during a disaster do not allow animals.

"Oklahoma weather can be unpredictable," Gorczyca-Southerland said. "Insure your pets are prepared by including them in your emergency plan."

Published in Opinion