The Michigan State Police have dubbed this week "Winter Hazards Awareness Week" and while you may have a plan for the humans in your family -- what about your pets?
There are simple steps you can take to prepare your animals before a disaster. First, not all shelters will accept pets, so plan in advance for shelter options. Next -- develop a buddy system with your neighbors or friends to make sure that someone is available to care for your pets if you are unable to do so. Finally -- assemble an emergency kit for your pet.
Your Pet Emergency Kit should include major things like food and water... but don't miss often-forgotten items like a can opener, and comfort items like toys or rope.
Here is the full checklist that the MSP provided: food (your pet's regular food), water, can opener if kit contains wet food, bowls, medications your pet needs, pet carrier labeled with your contact information, first aid kit, toys, rope, and other comfort items, pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, and plastic trash bags, contact list of pet-friendly hotels, veterinarians, and out of town friends and family, photo of your pet or i-d and a photo of you with your pet, immunization and vet records (keep both updated).
If you find yourself in a disaster with your pet, here are some tips to keep the situation under control. Bring your animal inside immediately, separate dogs and cats (anxiety may affect their behavior), feed them moist or canned food so they will need less to drink, and have extra newspapers for sanitary reasons.
For more information on Pet Preparedness, visit the related links section of this article.