They can’t help themselves

Published 10:37 am Wednesday, May 10, 2006

By Staff
At first thought it seems unnecessary to have a disaster plan for your animals and pets, but as those who experienced the hurricanes in the south, life doesn't always go as planned.
Even though we do not live in an area where this kind of tragedy occurs naturally, other conditions could make our livestock and beloved pets to suffer.
Whether we experience an earthquake, power outage or a chemical spill, thinking ahead can save our animals some unnecessary suffering or even death.
These tips are offered by the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association:
Set an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss planning for animals during evacuations.
If you must evacuate, take your animals with you if possible - Often disasters turn out much worse than predicted and homeowners are not able to return for days or weeks.
Put together an animal evacuation kit that includes several weeks supply of food and water, a cage or carrier, copies of veterinary records, a leash or collar, familiar items to make the pet feel comfortable and a first aid kit.
Recognize all types of natural disasters that may occur - including a hazardous waste spill.
If confined to the home make sure to have plenty of food and water.
Have backup generators for use in food-animal production operations.
Preparations should also be taken in case you are away from home when a disaster strikes. Place stickers at doors and pasture entrances to notify neighbors or rescue personnel there are animals on the property and where to find the evacuation supplies. It's also a good idea to ask a neighbor to tend to the animals if a disaster occurs while you are away.
Make sure all animals are properly tagged including rabies and license tags in case you are separated. Identification should include your name, address, phone number, and if possible the name, address and phone number of your veterinarian.
For more information about preparing for an emergency contact a local MVMA veterinarian, call the MVMA at 517-347-4710, or go to