Understanding Your Dog For Dummies
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If a natural disaster strikes, you should have an emergency kit and a plan for your pets. You're also wise to consider what would happen to your pets if you were in an accident or became ill suddenly and landed in a hospital with no time to prepare.

Here are some important tips to help your pets survive a disaster:

  • Make sure that your dog always wears ID tags. Permanent identification, such as a tattoo or imbedded microchip, is a good idea, too.

    Consider including cell phone information on your dog's tags. If you're forced to evacuate, your home number won't do much good.

  • Prepare a file with current medical and vaccination records, your pets’ microchip or tattoo numbers, your veterinarian’s phone number and address, feeding and medication instructions, and recent pictures of your animals.

  • Invest in shipping crates. Sturdy crates keep pets safe and give rescuers more options in housing pets. They give you more options, too, in the homes of friends or relatives or in shelters outside of the area, and depending on weather conditions, you can safely leave a crated pet overnight in a vehicle.

  • Keep several days’ worth of food and safe drinking water as well as any necessary medicines packed and ready to go in the event of a disaster. Rotate your supplies so they do not get stale. If your pet eats canned food, be sure to keep an extra can opener and spoon tucked in among the emergency supplies.

  • Pack plastic bags -- the kind you usually use for picking up poop, as well as bags that seal to put the poop into.

Your veterinary hospital may become damaged in a disaster, which is why having some backup plans for boarding and care is a good idea. Know where to find other veterinary hospitals in your area, as well as animal shelters and animal-control facilities.

Boarding facilities should also be noted, as well as groomers — all these places may be able to help out in a pinch. Photocopy the appropriate pages from your local Yellow Pages — or compile and print a list on your home computer — and tuck the pages in with your emergency supplies.

You may be lucky and survive a disaster nearly untouched, but others in your community won’t be so fortunate. Contact your local humane society and veterinary organization now to train as a volunteer so you can help out in a pinch.

Disaster-relief workers do everything from distributing food to stranded animals to helping reunite pets with their families — and helping find new homes for those who need them.

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