In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, there are probably a lot of thoughts from pet owners as to how they could have made themselves more prepared and their pets more prepared.  Sometimes natural disasters come at us with such little notice, but there are things you can do to prepare before the disaster is even predicted!  Read on to learn more about pet emergency care in a disaster.

Who to contact
There are plenty of people and organizations that should be contacted before the event of a natural disaster.  First of all, local animal shelters can provide you with the best safety tips for your area.  They may not be available to take your pets in, but they can tell you where to take them if you cannot take care of them.  Being informed about what your community does for pets in these instances is the first step to being prepared for a disaster.

Evacuate pets when you evacuate the family
This may seem obvious, but in the event of a natural disaster, you may put everything else besides you and your family to the back of your mind.  Don’t say “we will go back and get him/her” because it is quite likely that you will forget, or it will be too late; if you leave your pet behind, he/she could get injured, lost, or worse.

Research pet-friendly shelters
Research pet friendly shelters ahead of time so you know where you can take your pet, and where you can’t.  The most important thing to be aware of is that Red Cross disaster shelters do not allow pets.  If you need to go to one of these, plan ahead and find a different shelter for your pets.  It would be useful to contact hotels, boarding facilities, and veterinarians beforehand to determine if they take pets during emergencies.  You can also find friends, relatives, or others outside the area that may take care of your pet until your family gets back on its feet.

Prepare a disaster kit for pets
This should include pet supplies, such as medications and medical records, a pet first aid kit, sturdy leashes, harnesses, and/or carrier to transport pets safely and ensure that your animal can’t escape. You may also want to include current photos of your pet in case you lose them.  Also in the kit should be food, portable water, bowls, cat litter/pan, and a can opener.  Make sure this kit is easily accessible and everyone in your household knows where it is located.

What to do if your pet gets lost
It is a very scary situation if you lose a pet during a natural disaster.  The first thing you can do is contact the local animal shelters, police station, and veterinarians to see if they took in a pet like yours.  If you have no luck, try contacting boarding facilities or any other location that you think your pet might end up.  That is why it is handy to keep photos of your pet in the disaster kit, so people are familiar with what they should keep their eyes open for.  It is helpful to get your pet micro chipped ahead of time, and make she he/she wears a collar and identification tags. 

Natural disasters are scary, and they can be even scarier for our pets.  That is why it’s so important to be prepared for a disaster even when it is not likely to happen. Remember, all your pet has is you. The best thing you can do is be prepared!