It is heartbreaking to me all of the natural disasters that have been happening recently. First Houston, then Florida, now Mexico and Puerto Rico. It seems like each time, the damage is worse and the devastation keeps coming. I’m an animal lover, so I can’t help but think about all the injured and abandoned pets. Each time an animal-related storm story would pop up on Facebook, I couldn’t help but click. All of it is so, so awful. One story sticks in my mind is during the flooding in Houston, a dog shelter was in desperate need of helping evacuate their animals and the use of social media to get people to help was AMAZING. I can’t help but think about how scared these poor animals were as the waters continued to rise and life around them became chaotic.
Photo: Jonathan Bachman / Reuters
Thinking about how Dane and I would help Judy + Bill during a natural disaster makes me so anxious. Living on an island is great until a natural disaster (or worse) happens and thousands of people are in total panic mode scrambling for their lives. In an effort to help ease my own internal anxiety, I’ve put together an easy checklist of steps you can take to prepare you and your pet in case a natural disaster, or other emergency, happens.
Keeping Your Pet Safe During Natural Disasters
Pawscout Tags | c/o Pawscout
Do you have something your pet can fit in for transportation? Or a kennel that is portable? We have two XL kennels for Judy + Bill that are airline approved just in case we would ever have to use them. We also keep the “dog towels” and other dog-related supplies (shampoo, brushes, etc) in one area of our house that is accessible.
Is your pet microchipped with up-to-date information? Do they have a collar with updated information? We recently learned about Pawscout, which is a new form of pet identification that combines technology and tags. The Pawscout tag works by communicating with your smartphone and using a low radio Bluetooth signal that is embedded within the tag. If your pet becomes displaced, anyone using the app can view your profile and contact information that you provide. Why Pawscout if you already have tags and/or a microchip? In an emergency, finding a microchip scanner may not be feasible and tags easily go out of date and don’t give details on how to care for your pet if he or she is found. Plus, neither microchips nor traditional tags provide real-time tracking to find your pet or to alert you regarding his/her movements. I also really like that it’s not big or bulky – just a round black disk that can be slipped onto the collar or worn traditionally like a tag – plus, the map feature within the app allows you to tag local veterinarians, groomers, shelters, or pet-friendly restaurants, stores, or parks. More info and purchasing details can be found here if you’re interested.
As pet owners, we can’t prepare for every possible scenario and, of course, they’re called emergencies for a reason, but even just thinking about what you might do or how you might handle a situation can be helpful in the long run. Realistically, I hope that no one ever has to use this post, but the reality is that natural disasters can happen at any time, in any place and it’s better to be prepared than not.
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