TVMA Urges Pet Owners to Include Pets in Natural Disaster Preparation Plans

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Today marks National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day, and the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA) urges pet owners to include pets in disaster preparation plans.

With massive tornadoes hitting Texas the end of April, taking at least four lives, injuring dozens more and destroying countless homes, it couldn’t be more timely to recognize National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day. The awareness event serves as a call-to-action to prepare for not only tornadoes but also all types of emergencies, and the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA) urges pet owners to include pets in disaster preparation plans.

One of the key components of developing a disaster preparation plan is establishing an evacuation strategy, which involves determining how to get your pets safely out of the house and off the property and finding a safe place to stay. Many disaster shelters do not accept pets, so find one that does ahead of time or secure an alternative safe haven for your pets. Consider making arrangements for boarding in case of home destruction. In addition to dogs and cats, it is crucial to plan ahead and make sure farm animals and livestock are also accounted for.

It is important to assemble a survival kit for each of your pets. Just as humans need food, water and additional items such as medication, pets will need an ample supply of these things as well. In the kits, there should be at least three days worth of food and water, photos of pets for identification, proof of health care, emergency contact information and your veterinarian’s contact information. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has species-specific guides and resources available to the public to ensure you have all possible necessities.

Making sure your pet is properly identified is also imperative. If your pets happen to get lost during an evacuation or a disaster, you will have a much better chance of finding them if they are microchipped and tagged. It is also important to maintain an up-to-date contact information list with phone numbers for the veterinarian, fire department, police station, animal shelter and the nearest relative or friend who could shelter your pet.

“We may not always be together at home with our family and pets when disaster strikes, so we have to be prepared to communicate with and relocate our family and pets,” said TVMA Immediate Past President Sam Miller, DVM, of Village Veterinary Clinic in Houston. “In the event you are away from home, it would be a good idea for a neighbor or family member to have access to your house so they can assist in your disaster response.”

About the Texas Veterinary Medical Association
Founded in 1903, the Texas Veterinary Medical Association is a professional association composed of more than 3,700 veterinarians committed to protecting public health, promoting high educational, ethical and moral standards within the veterinary profession and educating the public about animal health and its relationship to human health. For more information, call 512/452-4224 or visit http://www.tvma.org.
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Dena Goldstein
Texas Veterinary Medical Association
since: 07/2009
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