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Keeping Your Dog Safe When Disaster Strikes

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No one can tell you exactly when and where the next man-made or natural disaster will strike. Planning ahead and being prepared will help keep your family, including pets, intact or can help reunite families and lost pets.

The recent super storm on the East Coast, Sandy caused people all over the world to reexamine their preparedness for a disaster. Despite days of storm warnings and evacuation notices, many pets were displaced or killed. In Alaska we have a constantly changing weather climate. Snow, cold and extreme weather changes are a part of every day life. Even though we Alaskans are highly adaptable we should always have a plan when it comes to our pets.

Being prepared can save their lives. Some tips for developing your plan include:

*Always keep a collar and tag on those animals that should normally wear collars.

*Identify possible locations where you can take your animals should you have to evacuate.

*People shelters generally cannot accept pets due to health and safety regulations and other considerations. Do not leave your pets behind if you must evacuate.

*Start a buddy system with someone in your neighborhood so that they will check on your animal during a disaster in case you aren't home.

*Store at least a one week supply of dry animal food and water. Also store bowls and a cat litter pan.

*Take several pictures of all your animals and keep these pictures with your important insurance papers that you would take with you if you have to evacuate. Store them in a resealable plastic bag in case you have to post them in the rain.

*Talk to your Veterinarian to see if he/she has a disaster plan. Your animal may need medical attention after a disaster has struck and you need to know where to take your animal. If your regular veterinarian does not have a plan, locate a veterinarian in your community who does.

*Keep a backup supply of your long term animal medications.

*Have assembled and ready to go a carrier to evacuate each animal in your household.

*Have a harness, stake out chain, and a leash for all the dogs in your household.

*If your dog is kept in an outdoor run, make sure it's in a location where falling debris (tree limbs, shingles, power lines, chimney bricks, etc.) won't fall on the run and possibly injure the dog.

*Be sure and comfort your animals during a disaster. They are frightened too, and having you near to give them a hug will help.

*Know where the animal shelters or animal rescue organizations are in your area. It is important to start looking for a missing animal as soon as you realize it is gone.

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