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Animals in Disaster

Pet Earthquake Preparation Tips

  1. It is vital that your pet be properly identified. This is especially important in time of an earthquake or other natural disaster when pets become frightened and run away. Be sure your pet has a collar and tag. In addition other methods of identification are available such as tattoos, or micro ID implants. Remember, even inside pets need IDs in time of emergencies.
  2. Keep pets calm so they won’t bolt and run away. Keep leashes or harnesses handy. Cat owners should also have carriers ready. One note about pet carriers – the large, hard plastic types are much more durable, especially in protecting pets from falling debris from damaged structures, etc.
  3. Have bottled water, dry food and/or canned food ready. These should be easily portable. Don’t forget a can opener if you have canned food that doesn’t pop open. It is a good idea to have a week’s supply in both your house and car.
  4. If your pet needs medication, be sure you have an extra supply on hand and ready to take with you as needed. A blanket might also be useful as bedding for you pet if you are forced from your home.
  5. Some pets will immediately hide when they are frightened. Be familiar with their special hiding places. It might be a good idea to have their favorite treat or food ready to coax them out. In case of dogs, having them trained will make it easier for them to respond to your commands.
  6. If you have a first aid kit, look to see what also might be handy to treat your pet in case of injury. And you might also want to purchase a pet first aid book as a reference guide in case of earthquake or other emergency. Remember vets and emergency animal facilities probably won’t be able to help you initially.
  7. After-shocks are almost inevitable in case of an earthquake. So be prepared to help your pet through these.
  8. Both you and your pet are going to be frightened. Try and do your best to remain as calm as possible so you can take care of the situation, and your pet. Keep your voice at a normal pitch and talk in comforting tones. Hold and caress your pet as a way of reassurance. You’ll find that your pet will also help calm you.
  9. Watch to see that your pet avoids contaminated water or items such as spilled anti-freeze. And watch out for frayed or downed electrical lines.
  10. If your pet becomes lost, check with your local animal shelter as soon as the emergency allows this. In past emergencies, in different parts of the country, it is surprising how many people forgot this first step in getting their pets back.

This guide was prepared with the assistance of the Humane Society of the Desert in North Palm Springs. Their experience in dealing with pets in the aftermath of a massive earthquake has been extremely helpful.

For additional information on how to help prepare for your pet you may visit the following websites:

Arkansas Division of Emergency Management:
Building 9501 Camp Joseph T. Robinson
North Little Rock, AR 72199

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