Georgia – Most Georgians don’t know that over 18 million of us, or 27% of everyone in Georgia live in areas that are labeled as hazardous due to flooding. That means that at any time over one million of our dogs could be caught up in a water natural disaster. Looking back, when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, over 600,000 companion animals were either lost or killed. “Thunderstorm Phobia” is a persistent disorder in many dogs that has no clear cause but can greatly impact our pets.
“The ASPCA and FEMA have announced that May 8th is Animal Disaster Preparedness Day”, states Robin Edwards, Master Dog Trainer and owner of Home Dog Training of Georgia. “We always prepare ourselves and our human family members for natural disasters. We often overlook our pets in our disaster plans.”
These are some general guidelines that can help you prepare your pet for a natural disaster:
Research a safe place to take your pets. Most emergency shelters do not allow pets.
- Ask friends or family members if they can shelter your pets during a disaster.
- Look for pet-friendly facilities and hotels near you or on the path of your emergency routes.You can find listings for these locations on sites such as www.officialpethotels.com and www.petswelcome.com.
- Call your local pet boarding facilities, animal shelters, and the local humane society to learn about their restrictions and policies. Keep a list of these facilities in your emergency pet kit.
- If you have to evacuate your home, do everything you can to take your pets with you. Animals left behind can be injured, lost, or killed.
- If you have to leave your pets behind, place them in a bathroom (with drinking water in the bath tub and bowl), leave out plenty of food, and alert local officials that your pets are in the house. Try to leave some notification on the front of your house that there are pets inside.
Edwards has additional information regarding Animal Disaster Preparedness at May 8th – Animal Disaster Preparedness Day.
“We all love our pets. A little planning and precaution can assure that they will be with us no matter what Mother Nature throws at us”.