To the Editor:
Hurricanes Irma and Harvey are devastating reminders that disaster preparedness saves lives. American Humane is urging pet owners to take two simple — yet essential — steps to ensure you and your animal companions are ready before the next catastrophe strikes.
First, don’t forget the basics: Pets should always wear collars and I.D. tags with their name, a cell phone number, and any urgent medical needs; for added assurance, American Humane also recommends microchipping your pet. Remember, microchips aren’t GPS devices or location trackers; the devices simply store emergency contact information, which animal owners are responsible for providing and keeping up-to-date. Not sure where your best friend stands? Ask your veterinarian to check the registration status of your pet’s microchip.
Second, American Humane recommends developing a pet-specific disaster plan and evacuation kit, including: an extensive list of safe places — such as emergency animal shelters, pet-friendly hotels, and trusted relatives and friends located in another region — that could house your pets during an emergency; a comfortable pet carrier or crate; a favorite toy or comfort item, like a blanket; one-week supplies of water, nonperishable pet food, and medications; copies of veterinary records and vaccination history; and recent photos of you holding your pet, which can be used to help verify ownership in case of unexpected separation.
Our beloved four-legged family members should never be left behind in a disaster. To protect your pets, be prepared.
Dr. Robin Ganzert