Every year, hundreds of pet families are affected by flooding, tornadoes and other natural disasters that are prone to our region. Although many of these families have detailed emergency preparedness plans in place in the event of a natural disaster, often times these plans do not include specifics for pets.
Unfortunately, the significant risks disasters pose for the safety and welfare for pets are overlooked. That’s why we’re calling all pet parents to understand the importance of being #petprepared for the impending tornado season. In partnership with the Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s Food, Shelter & Love® program we’re recognizing FEMA’s National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day on May 12.
To quickly and easily confirm your pet’s safety during an emergency, follow these seven steps:
- Ensure your pet’s identification by using a microchip or collar ID tag, and make sure that all contact information is up-to-date. You can update the microchip’s contact information at the manufacturer’s website by locating the code from the barcode sticker or the confirmation form provided by your veterinarian or animal shelter.
- Prepare a “Pet Emergency Go-Kit” of pet supplies that is readily accessible in an emergency.
- Display a pet rescue decal on your front door or window to let first responders know there is a pet in the house. Include your veterinarian’s contact information.
- Learn where your pet likes to hide in your house when frightened. Finding your pet quickly will help you evacuate faster.
- Identify a location to take your pet if you need to leave your immediate area. Keep in mind that disaster shelters for people may not be open to pets. Scout hotels and motels with pet-friendly policies and ask relatives or friends if they could house you and your pet.
- Carry a picture of your pet in the event of separation.
- If you need to evacuate, consider taking a pet carrier or crate for transport and safe-keeping.
When disaster strikes and even the best made plans are not enough, Hill’s Disaster Relief Network is positioned to respond quickly and supply pet food to communities in need. The first-of-its-kind network was established in 2013 as an extension of the Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love® program, which has provided more than $290 million worth of Hill’s® pet foods to over 1,000 shelters in North America and helped more than 9 million pets find new homes.
Since 2013, Hill’s Disaster Relief Network has delivered over 280,000 pounds of free food to nearly 300 organizations across the country in response to more than 70 disasters, including floods, tornadoes, mudslides and the devastating hurricanes and wildfires last year.
“Planning ahead is the best way for families to ensure that all members of their family, including pets, are ready to face an emergency,” said Joann Fuller, who oversees Hill’s Pet Nutrition Food, Shelter & Love® program. “Creating a pet emergency go- kit beforehand can relieve some of the stress families experience and keep pets safe when disasters strike. Our ultimate goal is to reduce the number of cats and dogs that are hurt, displaced or abandoned when communities are impacted by disaster.”