With the threat of more wildfires and flooding in the Stephens County area, it is important to offer advice to ensure the safety of our animal companions. All of the experts in disaster planning suggest making two plans: One for if you are staying to ride out the disaster, the other if you plan to leave the area. Gathering information and supplies now, gives you ample time to do a thorough job. The very first thing you MUST do for both plans is to think, ID. (See point #4 below.)
1. Never leave your animal companions behind. They are not any better equipped to survive disasters than humans are. Never leave pets outside during a disaster. They need the protection of a home just as you do. Also, a strong storm will erase scent markers and familiar outdoor references that pets use to determine location, so if they are left outside, they may easily become lost.
2. Know your destination ahead of time. Our shelter cannot accept animals, as all of our available pet housing is filled with orphaned pets waiting for adoption. Call ahead to hotels to see which ones will accept pets. In the near future, we hope to compile a list of pet-friendly facilities in Stephens County. Wherever you plan to go and stay, be it with friends, relatives, or at a hotel, call now to make sure both you and your pet will be welcome.
3. Do not leave pets unsupervised in a car. They can suffer from heatstroke if left in temperatures over 70 degrees. They need water frequently.
4. Put I.D. tags on your pets in case they become separated from you. If your pet does not have an ID microchip, get one. If your pet is lost, rescuers will need that information to return the pet to you. Because not everyone who finds your pet will have a microchip reader, get a collar with an address and telephone number on it for each of your pets.
5. Place small animals in carriers with some of its toys and a towel. This will calm the animal somewhat. If your pets are small enough to fit in a carrier, get one large enough for them to stay in for several days. Also, bring an ample supply of water and pet food for the estimate length of travel, food and water bowls, pet medication, pet toys, immunization certificates, a recent pet photo, trash bags, towels, leash, litter or newspaper, an enzyme cleaner for any accidents, and room freshener spray. Also bring pet prescriptions for refills your pet may need.
6. To be on the safe side, buy enough pet food and, if you have cats, enough litter for at least two weeks. Your pets will need lots of fresh water too, so have plenty of that on hand. The amount of water a pet consumes varies according to its size, so consider that when storing or buying water. If your pet is on medication and needs medical supplies such as syringes if it is diabetic, buy enough for at least one month, two months is better. Place these items and a current picture of your pets in separate watertight containers; large items can go in garbage bags.
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