Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Prepare Your Pet for a Disaster -- Here's How #FoodShelterLove

This post was sponsored by Hill's®. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill's® Food, Shelter, and Love™ program, but Catladyland only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill's Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

I admit it: I don't have an evacuation plan for the humans or felines in my family. We live in the upper Midwest, where there's moderate danger for tornadoes, but that's the only type of natural disaster we may face here. I'm not saying tornadoes aren't a worry -- a few times we've all gathered in the lower-level bathroom with the kids and cats, listening to that awful-sounding tornado alarm wailing outside. Thankfully, we've never been affected by such a disaster, but part of an entire neighborhood 20 minutes from my house was leveled by a twister, and there were human and animal deaths. So yeah, I need to take this kind of thing more seriously than I do.

I want to keep my human and feline kids safe!

FEMA's National Pet Disaster Preparedness Day is May 9, so this is perfect timing for me to get my act together! In addition your emergency kit for the people in your home, Hill's® recommends the following seven tips to ensure your pet's safety in an emergency.

  • Make sure your pet has an up-to-date ID collar or microchip.
  • Prepare a "Pet Emergency Go-Kit" that includes the following: a first aid kit and guide book; a three-day supply of pet food in a waterproof container; bottled water; safety harness and leash; waste clean-up supplies; medications and medical records; a contact list of veterinarians and pet care organizations; information on your pet's behavioral issues and feeding routine; comfort toys and a blanket.
  • Display a pet rescue decal on your front door so first responders will know a pet lives in the home. Include veterinarian contact information.
  • Learn where your pets like to hide so you can more easily find them during an emergency.
  • Research locations you can take your pets in you have to evacuate. Keep in mind some emergency shelters only allow humans. Look into hotels and motels that are pet-friendly and identify friends and family who agree to help you.
  • Carry a photo of your pets in case of separation.
  • If you must evacuate, consider taking carriers and crates so your pets will be safe and contained. 
We leave a carrier out so our cats won't be afraid of them.

During a disaster, animal shelter staff are already overwhelmed when disaster strikes in their area. In addition to the animals they're responsible for keeping safe and healthy, they often find themselves a haven for pets who've been separated from their people.

In 2013, Hill's created a first-of-its-kind disaster relief program aimed specifically at animal shelters. It's called Hill's Disaster Relief Network, ad it's an extension of their Food, Shelter & Love program. Since its inception, the network has delivered free food (like Science Diet Adult Optimal Care) to 50 shelters and veterinary clinics across the country in response to 11 major incidents, including the floods in Colorado, fires in Idaho and Arizona, tornadoes in Oklahoma and Kansas, the fertilizer plant explosion in Waco, TX. Most recently they've provided relief during the mudslides in Washington and tornadoes in the central south regions of the US.

The program is poised to respond in a moment's notice to provide healthy nutrition to shelter animals affected by disaster -- both the ones originally living at the shelter, as well as the pets who are anxiously waiting to reunite with their people.

Hill's Media Tour to talk about disaster preparedness kicks off May 7. This is good news because the more educated we can be when it comes to preparing for tragic events, the better we can keep the ourselves and our pets safe and healthy.

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