Having some sort of a household emergency plan is important, especially with the threat of severe thunderstorms in the South Dakota Spring and Summer; and winter storms in the South Dakota Spring, Fall and Winter.

Sometimes those plans can leave out a vulnerable part of a family: pets.

According to Ready.Gov, from the Department of Homeland Security, here are some tips for preparing the furry members of your household for emergencies.

Before and Emergency

  • Be sure your pet is ID'd, either with a microchip or securely fastened up-to-date tags on their collar. Or both.
  • Have a current photo of your pet for identification.
  • Make sure you have a secure pet carrier, leash or harness for your pet.
  • Think ahead about where you may go if your area need to evacuate or you need to stay somewhere else. Find out which motels and hotels in the area you plan to evacuate to allow pets.
  • Make a pet emergency kit that includes pet food, bottled water, medications and first aid supplies, vet records, litter, and food dishes. (More on this here).

During an Emergency

  • Bring your pets inside immediately. Never leave a pet outside or tied up during a storm.
  • Be prepared for accidents and have newspapers on hand for sanitary purposes. Feed animals moist or canned food so they will need less water to drink.
  • Separate dogs and cats. Even if your dogs and cats normally get along, the anxiety of an emergency situation can cause pets to act irrationally.
Hurricane Wilma Makes Landfall In Florida
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If it becomes necessary to leave your home during or after a disaster, try to never leave your pets behind. Most pets likely cannot survive on their own and if they do, you may not be able to find them when you return.

If you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home, there are some precautions you must take, but remember that leaving your pet at home alone can place your animal in great danger! Confine your pet to a safe area inside - NEVER leave your pet chained outside! Leave them loose inside your home with food and plenty of water. Remove the toilet tank lid, raise the seat and brace the bathroom door open so they can drink. Place a notice outside in a visible area, advising what pets are in the house and where they are located. Provide a phone number where you or a contact can be reached as well as the name and number of your vet.


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