Tuesday, October 29, 2013

#HillsPet Disaster Relief Network: Is Your Pet Prepared for an Emergency?

It's not something we like to think about, but what would happen if there were an emergency and you and your human and furry family needed to be prepared? Many of us -- especially if we live in a disaster-prone area -- have devised a plan for the humans, but what would happen to our beloved animal family members?

I would never want anything to happen to my human and cat kids -- I need an emergency plan!

Preparing to write this article made me really stop and think about those questions. I live in Minnesota, so our chances of being affected by a hurricane or earthquake are pretty much nil. We do, however, have a tornado season and every time I hear the ear-splitting siren permeate the air, I freak out. Where is my husband? Where are my kids? Where are my cats? I'm a little bit embarrassed to admit I don't really have an official plan.

Last year I visited Hill's headquarters in Topeka, Kansas. Most people recognize Hill's as a pet food manufacturer, but -- what what's a surprise for many -- is the extensive amount of work they do in the way of helping shelter animals, especially in the face of disasters. I think the passionate, heartfelt presentation about their outreach effects was my favorite part of the whole visit. It's so refreshing to see giant corporations step it up and make a difference in the lives of others.

Since 2002, the Hill's Food, Shelter & Love Program has donated over $240 million worth of Science Diet brand food to over 1,000 animal shelters nationwide. They've helped over 7 million pets (and counting) find new homes. In addition, the program helps feed more than 100,000 homeless pets every day.

Hills' Disaster Relief Network has a strong record of quickly responding during emergencies, including Hurricanes Sandy, Isaac and Katrina, The Waldo Canyon wildfire near Colorado Springs, and the tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri. They even assisted in the aftermath of Japan's tsunami. Hopefully, you and I won't be faced with recovery from devastations such as these, but it's critical to have a plan for ourselves and our pets in place.

Hill's advises us to take the following steps to prepare your pet for an emergency event, including evacuation:

  • Make sure your pet is equipped with a microchip or collar ID tag, with updated contact information.
  • Prepare an easily accessible emergency box of pet supplies. The box should include: a first aid kit and guidebook, bottled water and a 3-day supply of pet food stored in a waterproof container, a safety harness and leash, waste clean-up supplies, medications and medical records, a contact list of veterinary and pet care organizations, information on your pet's feeding routine and any behavioral issues, comfort toys and a blanket.
  • Display a pet rescue decal on your front door or window to let first responders know there is a pet in the house. Include veterinary information.
  • Identify places in the immediate area where you may take your pet during an evacuation, keeping in mind disaster shelters may not be able to shelter animals. Scout out pet-friendly hotels/motels and connect with family or friends who may be able to offer shelter.
  • During an evacuation, consider taking a carrier or kennel for animal transport and safekeeping.
  • Carry a photo of your pet with you and take note of where in your house your pet likes to hide. Finding them quickly in an emergency is key.

Would you like to learn more about Hill's outreach programs that helps animals? Today they are BlogPaws #BlogPawsChat sponsor on Twitter, and you're invited. They'll be discussing their programs and you'll have the opportunity to answer questions. The chat is from 8-10:00 p.m. EDT. Follow @BlogPaws and @HillsPet, and join the chat!

This post is being sponsored by Hills. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hills Science Diet for cats, but Catladyland only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hills Pets Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

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