Be Pet Safe – Before Disaster Strikes

With the sights and smells of summer, it’s only natural for dogs and even indoor-only cats to dart outside.

And unfortunately, with hurricanes, floods and other emergency situations or even frightening fireworks, our furry friends can get lost, need to take shelter away from home or need first-aid care.

Here are some tips to help make the Summer of ’17 (or any season) safer and happier for your beloved four-legged friends.

  1. Make sure your pet wears a collar with ID tags with up-to-date phone numbers as well as any municipal license tag and/or rabies vaccination tag. If you have to go to a shelter in the event of an emergency, be sure to add the shelter address or phone number too.
  2. Consider microchipping your pets. Often animals adopted from a rescue group or animal shelter have been microchipped before adoption but it’s always good to check. Make sure the microchip registrations are up to date and keep the records handy.
  3. Have updated photos of your pets on your phone or in your wallet.
  4. Make sure you have a list of emergency shelters that will accept pets.
  5. It could also be helpful to talk with friends and family members who would be willing to temporarily take in you and/or your pets in the event of an emergency such as a natural disaster or home fire.

Find out which area hotels and motels will accept pets. In some cases local animal shelters may make room for pets—it’s worth finding out beforehand.

A Pet Preparedness Kit can also easily be stored in a closet or in a large bag until it’s needed. According to the U.S. government’s Emergency Preparedness site,, the following items should be included:

  • Pet food and dishes
  • Bottled water
  • Medications
  • Veterinary records (make extra copies)
  • Pet first-aid kit (see our May 2017 blog post)
  • Extra collars and leashes
  • Disposable litter pans and litter for cats

If you must leave your pet home unattended during a disaster, NEVER leave it chained outside! It is safer to leave dogs and cats roaming freely in your home with plenty of fresh food and water. You can remove the toilet tank lid and raised the toilet seat so they can access toilet water, if need be.

Leave a sign outside your home indicating what pets are in the home, how you can be contacted and contact info for your veterinarian. We’ve designed an “In Case Of Emergency” sign for you to print, fill out and put in a readily visible window or other location.

If you stay home during a disaster, keep your pets indoors with you. Use puppy training pads or newspapers for dogs. Moist or canned food are good options because your dog will need less water to drink.

Got birds? Your avian vet or specialty store may offer tips for feathered friend care. For reptile-lovers, a home generator can be helpful, particularly in cooler months, to maintain the warming lamps needed by snakes and other reptiles.

With thoughtful planning that only takes a little time, you can all breathe easier and relax into summer!

Posted in Education & Information and tagged , , .

Bryna Elder-Munro affectionately refers to her home as the "petting zoo", reflecting her status as "mom" to rescued dogs, cats and guinea pigs. Well, the pigs call her "The Maid." A former award-winning journalist, Bryna is now a licensed massage therapist, Reiki practitioner and canine massage therapist. She, her wife and their four-legged brood live in rural Hunterdon County.

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