All too often when planning for our families in the case of a flood, we forget to have a plan for our pets. Unfortunately, if we don't plan ahead for our pets, they may get left behind in case of a flood evacuation. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when putting together your pet disaster plan. |
In the wake of devastating floods, countless animals are displaced from their families and homes. As many as 30 percent of dogs, cats, birds and other exotic pets are left behind by their owners who believe — in the midst of panic — that they can retrieve them later and that they'll be safer if left in a home's familiar setting.
Medical Concerns for Pet Flood Victims While animals have strong survival instincts and have proven to live through natural disasters on their own, they can't fend off some of the health dangers associated with floods:
Dehydration and anorexia Lacerations or other physical wounds, abrasions or burns Sprains, strains or soft tissue injuries Insect bites and stings Snakebite Near drowning Hyperthermia (Abnormally high body temperature.) Hypothermia (Abnormally low body temperature.) Household chemicals, other chemicals or toxic medication ingestion Pneumonia Foreign body ingestion Infectious diseases Fractures Gastroenteritis (The inflammation of the stomach and intestine, often resulting in diarrhea, vomiting and cramps.) Having a suitable carrier on hand is one of the most basic, yet most important, steps you can take for protecting your pet in case of a flood. Often, families are forced to leave their pets behind because they do not have a carrier to transport them in. A carrier can be picked up at almost any pet supply store, as well as large retailers like WalMart or Target. They are relatively affordable and an incredibly important part of any pet disaster plan.
In addition to a pet carrier, have a pet care kit ready if you think a flood evacuation may take place. Be sure to include a bowl, pet food and extra water, as well as any medications your pet may be dependent on. If necessary, have a leash and collar on hand as well. Keep in mind pets that may not normally run away could react differently under the stress and may need to be leashed.
If water rises quickly, keep in mind flood safety tips. Flood water that is shallow enough for an adult to walk in may carry away children and pets. It is not safe to drive a car through deep water. If your area floods, get to higher ground as quickly as possible and try to get in touch with a local rescue service. Depending on the area you live in, there may be a pet rescue service that can help keep your pet safe. Additionally, there are stickers you can put near the entrance of your home to inform rescue workers of how many and what types of pets you have. If for some reason you and your family are forced to leave your pets behind, something like this could help save their lives.
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