What are you most excited to come home to after work? Your family, right? I’m sure most of you are thinking about your wife, your husband or your children, but what about your pets? Your pets are a huge part of your family, and for some, they are all you have.

Pets offer unconditional love and loyalty, but what do you offer them in return? Has it ever crossed your mind how you would protect them during a disaster? You’ve thought about it for your family, but maybe not for your pets. Now is the time to be their protector as well.

Below are a few tips on how to make a pet and animal emergency plan, so you’ll be ready for any disaster, especially during the peak of hurricane season.

1. ID your pet. Make sure your pet has up-to-date information on its tags and that they are securely fastened to its collar. If you can, be sure to have the address and/or phone number of your evacuation location. If your pet gets lost, this will make it a lot easier for you, or someone else, to reconnect you with your beloved animal friend after a disaster.You also might want to consider microchipping your pets. This increases your chances exponentially of being reunited with your pet if they get lost.

2. Have a secure pet carrier, leash or harness for your pet to keep them securely by your side.

3. Make sure you have a current photo of your furry family member for identification purposes. Keep it in your wallet or somewhere safe, so you know it won’t get lost.

4. Make a pet emergency kit so you are always prepared for any disaster. A few items you want to make sure you have in your kit are:
    i. Bottled water
    ii. Medications
    iii. Pet food
    iv. Veterinary records
    v. Food dishes
    vi. First aid kit and other supplies

5. Identify shelters. Many emergency shelters do not accept pets. Prepare in advance to identify which shelters, motels or hotels allow pets if you need to evacuate your home.

6. Plan for your pet in case you’re not home. In case you are away during a disaster or evacuation order, make arrangements well in advance for a someone you trust to retrieve your pets and meet you at a specified location. Make sure it’s someone your pet knows, and the caretaker is comfortable taking care of them. Give them a key to your home, show them your pet’s favorite hiding spots, and where your emergency kit is kept.

Be the person your pet thinks you are. Your pet is a hero to you and now it’s time to be a hero to them. Don’t wait until the last minute to get your plan in order. Do it now, and be prepared. To learn more about how you can protect your furry best friend during any type of disaster, visit: https://www.ready.gov/animals

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