Be Prepared: Pets and National Disaster Preparedness Month

Unexpected disasters happen. Animals often sense impending disaster before it occurs. Less stress may be experienced by families and their pets if preparation is made in advance for a natural disaster.

Some Arlington residents may recall – all too vividly – the tornadoes that blew through Arlington in April 2012 and the repairs and rebuilding that took place in the aftermath. Damaged homes with spooked animals and downed fences made for loose animals.

Arlington Animal Services launched a Lost and Found Pets website within a day of the 2012 tornado event that helped reunite lost pets with their owners.

A check-list is provided below for pet owners to help be better prepared in case of a disaster where people may be displaced from their homes with their pet(s):

  • License and register your Arlington dog and/or cat with the Animal Services Center each year
  • Microchip your pet, and keep contact information current (see the flyer with information about low-cost microchips and pet vaccines)
  • Have your pet wear a collar with its current identification tag and rabies vaccination tag
  • Prepare a “go-kit” for your animal that includes:
    • A leash
    • A pet carrier suitable for the size and comfort of your pet (cats also need space for a small litter box)
    • A week’s supply of fresh water
    • A week’s supply of pet food
    • Food and water dishes
    • Any prescribed medications, prescriptions, and medical records
    • Contact information for the animal’s veterinarian, pet friendly hotels, Arlington Animal Services Lost and Found Pets website, family and friends, etc.
    • A blanket
    • A duplicate of a favorite toy
    • And, don’t forget to include baggies to properly dispose of pet defecation in a sanitary, lawful manner.

See the video Saving the Whole Family: Disaster Prep and Your Pets with Dr. Heather Case, an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) member, and visit avma.org/disaster for more information.

As Hurricane Florence looms in the Atlantic, and a tropical depression appears to be forming in the gulf coast possibly headed for Texas, it is important to be ready. When a hurricane or tropical depression stalls as it comes ashore, it can dump several feet of water – and spawn tornadoes and flash flooding hundreds of miles inland. Don’t be caught empty handed after resources may be depleted at local stores.

Protect your family and your pets by being prepared.