This post is sponsored by Hill’s® .I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s® Food, Shelter, & Love® Program, but Amy Shojai’s Bling, Bitches & Blood Blog only shares information relevant to our readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.
I live in Tornado Alley, and this year we’ve already had a rash of damaging storms hit North Texas and Southern Oklahoma. Disasters happen all year long, though, and don’t discriminate about where you live. Cats and kittens, puppies and dogs and other animals are victims, too, and often animal shelterslready overstretched become the go-to resource during disasters. That’s where Hill’s® Disaster Relief Network comes in.
Hill’s established the first-of-its-kind national network in 2013 as an extension of its Food, Shelter & Love® program. In its first year, the Hill’s network delivered free pet food to 50 shelters and veterinary clinics across the country in response to 11 major incidents – including floods in Colorado, fires in Idaho and Arizona, tornadoes in Oklahoma and Kansas, the fertilizer plant explosion in Waco, Texas, and most recently, the mudslide in Washington and tornadoes in the central and south regions of the country.
Hill’s Media Tour to talk disaster preparedness and disaster relief kicks off May 7th just in time to coincide with FEMA National Pet Disaster Preparedness Day on May 9th. Here’s a sneak peek to help you plan ahead, so that equal opportunity disasters don’t spoil your day…or life.
PLAN FOR SHELTER
If you must evacuate, take your pets along. It may be days before authorities allow you to return home.
If you’ve got to evacuate, find a hotel, friend, or other accommodations in advance that will let you bring your dogs and cats. Some places make exceptions for pets in case of disaster but not all accept cats and dogs. While my two cats likely would be accepted, I don’t know if my 90-pound German Shepherd would be as welcome.
If you must leave your pets or are away when disaster strikes, be sure to display a pet rescue decal on your front door or window to let first responders know there is a pet in the house. Include your veterinarian’s contact information.
KNOW YOUR PETS’ HIDING SPOTS
You’ll need to find them fast so play pet detective and scope out all the hidy holes. Even better, teach your cats and dogs to come when called or take refuge in their pet carrier. Practice ahead of time by leaving surprise treats or simply turning the carrier into the mealtime spot, and “home of irresistible food.”
PROVIDE PROPER IDENTIFICATION
Make sure all dogs and cats are wearing collars and up-to-date pet identification. If you have nothing else handy, use a felt-tip marker and write your phone number and name on the pet’s tummy.
Attach the phone number and address of your temporary shelter, if you know it, to the pet’s collar tags. You can buy temporary tags or put adhesive tape on the back of your pet’s ID tag, adding information with an indelible pen. Write directly on a flat nylon collar or halter to make it easy for a stranger to read the information.
Be sure you have current pictures of your pets with you, too, in case of separation. My cell phone is full of pictures of Seren-Kitty, Karma-Kat and Magical-Dawg.
PACK FOR YOUR PETS
In addition to providing for human family members, have a “pet kit” ready to take along that contains a three-day supply of all the pet essentials, including food. If easily packed, take an extra towel or blanket for each pet. Don’t forget sturdy leashes, harnesses, carriers or X-pens for safe confinement.
Have you ever had to ride out a storm with your pets? How did you manage the situation? What about fire? One year we had horrendous floods here and folks had to flee, awakening with water coming under the door.
How have you managed during disasters? Did you evacuate and take the fur-kids with you, or were you forced to leave them behind? That would just about kill me…I’d likely risk my life and stay with them, if it came down to it. Please share how you prepare for the worst.
Be sure to watch this PAW-some video, too!
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