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September is National Preparedness Month, but don’t wait. Prepare now.

September is around the corner and National Preparedness Month is a reminder to keep our pets in mind when planning for emergencies. We have all seen the media coverage of pets left behind at the worst of times. We can prevent these traumatic and sad situations from happening with an emergency preparedness plan that includes our best buddies.

First and foremost, visible identification should be on your pet at all times. You never know when you might have to evacuate your home in a hurry or your pet finds herself in a scary situation separated from you. There are vast sources for safe, comfortable collars for nearly all critters today. Collar ID is the simplest way to get your pet back home to you quickly. Micro-chipping is the permanent identifier that complements your visible ID and is readily available at low or no-cost. The key importance with microchips is to keep the chip registered and up-to-date.

Keep a leash and collar, pet carrier, an emergency food supply, alternative supplies such as litter and litter box and vet records near a commonly used exit or in your vehicle, ready to go.

Know where to go. Pre-arrange a place to stay if you have to evacuate with your pets. Many emergency shelters will not allow animals other than service dogs. If you do not have a friend or family member, know the local pet-friendly accommodations in and around your area. I use as a great source for finding pet-friendly places to stay while I travel. and are great resources as well.

Let your local animal shelter know if you are able to assist them with temporary housing during any emergency they may have. Advise them of the animals you are able to take, if you have pet carriers, leashes and supplies to assist one or more of their rescues animals in need.

Practice, practice, practice. A pet carrier is the safest, most comfortable option for evacuating your small pet safely. Practice putting her in the carrier so that she will be less resistant when she needs to go in a hurry. No carrier available? Wrap her in a blanket, use a pillow case or box. Practice car rides on leash and in the carrier. Practicing evacuations greatly reduces the trauma a sudden emergency can have on a pet. The natural urge to flee or bite only increases the emergency. Practice creates comfort and will reduce anxiety.

Pets are important members of the family. Use these tips to make them a part of your family emergency plan. Don’t wait until September. Do it now!

With leash in hand,


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