When evacuation orders are issued, it is imperative that you take your animals with you. Animals do not have the same capabilities as humans do to protect themselves. Therefore, leaving an animal behind during a wild land fire, in rising flood waters or in the path of a hurricane could cause them extensive injury or even death. Instead of abandoning animals to fend for themselves, determine ahead of time how you can transport your pet to a safe location. The more animals in a household, and the larger the animals are, the more advance planning will be required.
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When it comes time to evacuate, the most important priority is for you, your family and your companion animals to get to safety. Do not risk injury or becoming trapped in an unsafe situation by gathering these items at the last minute – prepare for a natural disaster ahead of time by organizing these items in a “Grab and Go” container.
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Recent natural disasters illustrate clearly why it is critical to have a disaster plan in place not only for you and your family, but also for the animals for which you are responsible. In order to ensure the safety and well-being of all the members of your family, there is no better time than now to think through the issues that will ensure the appropriate plan of action and to evaluate and update any plan you may already have in place.
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During both an evacuation period, and in the days and months that follow, SPCA International will do all we can to assist a community with the help of our members. Many animal lovers feel a strong desire to roll-up our sleeves and personally help when an area has been devastated by disaster. Learn what the most pressing animal needs are in a disaster situation and how you can assist most effectively.
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The next time you take your dog or cat to the vet, include disaster preparedness in the discussion with your veterinarian. Or just make a call now.
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Now is the time to start a buddy system with a trusted neighbor, so you can check on each other’s animals in the event there is an evacuation and either one of you are not home. Some disasters happen with little to no warning, and if you are away from home at the time, it could be days or weeks before you will be able to reach your home and your animals.
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Who does not have a cell phone these days? The answer is, probably very few people. For this reason, there is no excuse for not taking current photos of your companion animals as part of your disaster preparedness efforts, since most phones now have built in cameras.
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The days or weeks after a disaster strikes can be emotionally draining and physically challenging. A lack of sleep will impair your decisions and your ability to think smart. When it comes time for you and your animals to return home it’s important to remember to take the following precautions.
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The three favorite hiding places in a house for cats to hide after an earthquake are behind the refrigerator, in the box-springs of a bed and either under or behind a couch.
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Now is the time to assemble a Grab-and-Go Kit for your horse. Trying to gather all these items when you have little time to evacuate during a disaster can endanger your life and the life of your horse.
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These are some of the common medical problems to look for in a horse during a disaster: Cuts and abrasions Abscesses Burns Respiratory problems that can turn into pneumonia (especially in fires) Lameness Eye Injuries Nails or other sharp debris in hooves Foot infection from standing in water or mud for extended periods of time Discharge from the nose
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Evacuating a horse can be a lot more challenging then getting a dog or cat to safety. Unfortunately, many people who own horses do not have a horse trailer, which can be a serious problem when in the midst of a disaster. If you don’t have a horse trailer, do some research ahead of time to see if you can locate someone willing to help transport your horse in case of disaster.
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