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National Pet Preparedness Month
Important reminder to create an evacuation plan for the whole family
Sometimes all of the unofficial national "holidays" and awareness months that keep cropping up seem excessive.  Do we really need a National Hug Your Cat Day?!  But I think the new movement to make June National Pet Preparedness Month is a really good one, and a nice complement to September's National Preparedness Month for people.
 
Earlier this year, I wrote an article in the magazine about disaster preparedness in light of lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy.  It's important to revisit this topic periodically and it's timely now that storm season has started.
 
A little preparation goes a long way in an emergency and having a "go bag" will help you keep calm and evacuate quickly.  This is especially important if you have the added responsibility of pets.
 
If you already have a "go bag" or evacuation pack, use this month as an annual reminder to replace old food and medication and to update photos and emergency contact information.  If you haven't created a bag, use this list to help get you started.
  • 7 days worth of food (rotate regularly and if you use canned food, buy cans with a pop-top)
  • 7 days of bottled water (rotate regularly)
  • Medication (rotate regularly)
  • Food/water bowls
  • Extra collar, harness, and leash
  • Clean up supplies (pet cleaning solution and paper towels)
  • Plastic bags (to serve double duty as garbage and poop bags)
  • Flashlight
  • Blanket
  • Toys and chews
  • Carrier
  • Copies of medical records
  • Contact information for local veterinarians, pet friendly hotels and shelters, and out-of-town family members willing to take in your pets
  • Recent photo for making lost posters
  • First aid kit with pet-specific supplies
For more information on preparing your canine family for natural disasters, visit the ASPCA web site.  
 
It's easy to think that you'll never have to deal with a natural disaster, but I saw countless people caught totally off guard during Hurricane Sandy.  Creating an evacuation plan and a "go bag" doesn't take much effort and you (and your pets!) will be thankful for your advance preparation in the event of an emergency!
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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.
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