In recognition of National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day on May 13, 2017, the SPCA of Texas is joining Hill's Pet Nutrition and its network of animal shelter partners to encourage pet parents to fully consider their pets in their emergency planning.
In times of crisis, people are often told to leave their homes for a "short time," only to find that they cannot return for days or even weeks. As a result, community animal shelters are overwhelmed with lost and separated cats and dogs following a disaster.
"Being prepared is the best step families can take to ensure that they and their pets are ready to face an emergency," said Joann Fuller, who oversees Hill's Pet Nutrition Food, Shelter & Love® program. "Plus, knowing that a kit is packed and ready to go can put families at ease."
Hill's annual campaign is aimed at educating pet families on ways they can stay safer and be better prepared to survive a disaster. This year, Hill's enlisted the help of the SPCA of Texas and other shelter partners in its Hill's Food, Shelter & Love® program to help raise awareness on the importance of becoming pet prepared.
“The SPCA of Texas is pleased to partner with Hill’s Pet Nutrition to help educate the public on how to care for pets in preparation of a disaster,” said James Bias, President and CEO for the SPCA of Texas, a member of the Hill’s Disaster Relief Network. “Pets are family, and including them in all disaster planning by building a Pet Emergency Go-Kit and storing it with the rest of the family’s emergency preparations one important way to ensure you all have what you need during unforeseen disasters.”
Together with Hill's, the SPCA of Texas suggests families build a Pet Emergency Go-Kit and store it with the rest of the family's emergency preparations:
- Basic first aid supplies
- A 3-day supply of bottled water and the pet's preferred food, held in a waterproof container
- Safety harness and leash
- Waste clean-up supplies
- Medications and a copy of the pet's medical records
- List of veterinarians and local pet care organizations
- List of the pet's feeding routine and any behavioral issues
- Comfort items, such as a blanket or favorite toy, to help keep the pet calm and comfortable
Hill's also recommends the following Tips to Help Ensure Your Pet's Safety in an Emergency:
- Ensure your pet's identification by using a microchip or collar ID tag, and make sure that your contact information is up-to-date.
- Display a pet rescue decal on your front door or window to let first responders know there is a pet in the house. Include your veterinarian's contact information.
- Learn where your pet likes to hide when frightened. Finding your pet quickly will help you evacuate faster.
- Identify a location to take your pet if you need to leave your immediate area. Keep in mind that disaster shelters for people may not be open to pets. Scout hotels and motels with pet-friendly policies and ask relatives or friends if they could house you and your pet.
- Carry a picture of your pet in the event of separation.
- If you need to evacuate, consider taking a pet carrier or crate for transport and safe-keeping.
The Hill's Disaster Relief Network is positioned to respond quickly and supply pet food to communities in need. The first-of-its-kind network was established in 2013 as an extension of the Hill's Food, Shelter & Love® program. Hill's Food, Shelter & Love® has provided more than $280 million worth of Hill's® Science Diet® brand pet foods to over 1,000 shelters in the United States and helped more than 8 million pets find new homes.
In the past few years, the Hill's Disaster Relief Network delivered free food to shelters and veterinary clinics across the country in response to more than 40 major incidents, including floods, fires, tornadoes and a mudslide. The network responded to 16 emergencies across the United States in 2016, including the severe flooding in Louisiana, where it donated 75,000 pounds of free pet food.
Families looking to learn more about disaster preparedness and safety, as well as the Hill's Disaster Relief Network, can visit HillsPet.com/PetPrepared. To request assistance during an emergency, shelters can contact DisasterRelief@hillspet.com.