Friday, June 26, 2015

How Will Your Pet React In An Emergency?

In my 6/23/15 post I talked about why FEMA, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, cares about the safety of pets and other animals.  In this post I want to talk about another aspect of emergency and disaster events that people don't always consider; how a disaster or emergency situation such as a severe hurricane, flood, tornado, etc. can effect their pets both during and after the incident.  I mean beyond needing the items in your first aid or emergency kits.  I'm talking about unexpected risks to your pet and unexpected emotional and behavioral issues that may appear during and after an incident.


Think you know how your pet will react during a real emergency or disaster scenario?
Hold on to your collar guys, I'm sensing Big trouble!
It's one thing for your pet to be frightened during fireworks or a thunderstorm and hide in the closet.  It's quite another for your pet to be in the throws of chaos and panic during a flood, tornado, earthquake or other emergency situation.  In a true emergency situation your pets are not only frightened themselves but they can sense that you are frightened, even panicked, as well.  They can sense that something very bad is going on and they may not behave the way you expect.
 

To be better prepared, identify potential hazards to your pet & think about ways you can reduce the impacts such as:
 
Making certain your pet is microchipped and has updated tags will be a life saver (literally) if you get separated from your pet or can't bring your pet into the hotel or shelter with you.  Pet friendly hotels and shelters may fill up fast!
 
Have a plan to keep your pets safe during and after a disaster or emergency.  They may not react the way you expect!
 
Local authorities, often with the support of FEMA, will coordinate efforts to help lost or displaced pets return home.  If your pet is chipped, the odds of returning home safely are greatly increased.  Don’t let your pet be one of the thousands who will be adopted to someone else in the wake of a disaster because you can't be located.  If you’ve been putting it off, please contact your Vet or a local shelter (they offer discounts) and get it done this week!
 
Right Now, make sure your pets are up to date on all required vaccinations for your state so a last minute trip to the Veterinarian won't be needed.  Vet visits are stressful enough for most pets, don't put them through it in a panic when reports of a hurricane or flooding will be upon you in 3 days.  I keep an envelope in the car with both my dogs’ veterinary information and vaccination records.  I stay on top of vaccinations and update the documentation in the car every time they get a vaccination. 

Think about how your pet will likely behave when faced with chaos and fear.  Will s/he react with extreme fear or fear aggression?  Will s/he try to hide or run away from the area, or start snapping and biting at you?  Your pet may be fine running out to the car and jumping right in without a leash, but in a disaster there will be many signs of danger for your pet, not least of all your reaction to what is happening and your stress level.  Anticipate your pets behavior and be sure you have whatever you need to safeguard your pet.  Leashes, harnesses, crates, carriers, blankets, comfort garments that reduce stress, etc.  You know best what works for your pet when frightened. 
 
How will your pet react to the chaos of an emergency situation?
I'm scared!  I'm gonna go hide behind that pile of firewood way in the back of the yard
 There may be downed trees, power lines and debris that pose a danger if your pet isn’t secured.  You don't want to be scrambling around at the last minute to search for that crate in the basement, drag it out now. 
 
You may encounter frightened lost or displaced pets, wildlife, or even livestock running loose during or after a disaster.   Their survival instincts will kick in and they could pose a danger to you and your pet.  Think about the wildlife, livestock, and neighbor pets around you and try to anticipate how they might react and how you can be prepared for that.  Keeping your pet secured is the best way to keep him safe.   

What about after a disaster, how might your pet be affected?  How might wildlife and other animals or pets be affected and how will you respond?  Will other animals become aggressive out of fear or extreme hunger?   Might animals be roaming the streets weeks after the event, frightening your pet or posing a danger to him?  Be prepared for unusual behavior from your own pet and even from docile wildlife or pets you know in the neighborhood. 
 
Your stress level combined with the chaos of an emergency situation may cause your pet to react in strange ways
Mommy that squirrel is scaring me, I think the floods made him go insane!
If there is a lot of property damage it could cause your pet to get lost, or be injured by debris.
 
Keep a close eye on your pet and make sure s/he is OK in the weeks following the event.

Please also remember that during a disaster cell phones as well as hard wired phones often lose service so don’t wait until the 11th hour to print things off your computer, make preparatory phone calls, or inform someone of where you’ll be heading in the event of an emergency.  Have a plan and have whatever you can have ready NOW.  Download an Info Graphic on how to be #PetPrepared from Hill's Pet Nutrition and their Food Shelter and Love program.  They help animal shelters in need when disaster strikes!
 
Have you experienced unexpected issues with your pets during or after an emergency situation?  Leave us a comment and share, we always love hearing from you!


THIS IS THE FRIDAY PET PARADE BLOG HOP!

 

11 comments:

  1. Hi Y’all!

    Very good advice. Especially for those of us who live in hurricane and storm prone areas.

    My Human thinks movin' a blog, especially a long established one, is akin to movin' into a different house. It takes awhile to get everything unpacked and put away and even longer to remember where everything is.

    Check us out at our new home http://www.browndogcbr.net.

    Our theme is still changing periodically as we try to select one that works the best for us and you, our readers.

    Y’all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

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    1. Your human is right, moving a blog can't be much fun but it's worth it in the long run! Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. This has been wonderful information your sharing about disasters, thanks so much!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

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    1. I'm really glad you think so, thanks for stopping by Jenna!

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  3. OMD! LOVE THE PICS!!!! BOL!!!!
    Not only is this VERY impawtent info, butts you guys made it funs! Ma's gonna come back and make sure she didn't miss anythings...she does that...lots ☺
    Kisses,
    Ruby ♥

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    1. Thank you so much Ruby for the kind words & I'm glad you like the photos, I had a tough time deciding which pics would make sense here since we've never been in an actual disaster - Thankfully!! Thanks for stopping by Ruby!

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  4. Great advice! We know where all our supplies are and are ready in case of emergency. It also helps that our cats are comfortable wearing a harness, so we'd have more control over them if they were to panic in fright.

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    1. That is really smart, I'm glad you are so well prepared! Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. Excellent info! Sharing over on my FiveSibes page!

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  6. I've seen a lot of disaster preparedness posts focus on what to do in an emergency and what you'll need, but this is the first one I've seen that has focused on how your pet might behave in an emergency, and it's so important for all of us loving pet parents to consider this.

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  7. Great post especially as I live in San Francisco and I have focused on making sure Layla would be safe in an emergency as it is my main worry

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