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by Kimberly Gauthier, KeepTheTailWagging.com

My favorite monster is the vampire. I’ve read tons of books and watched loads of movies featuring vampires. The best one is 30 Days of Night. Wow, I was mesmerized. I even watched all the special features on the DVD. My least favorite monster is the zombie. What I love and hate about zombie movies is that they don’t always tell you how the zombie apocolypse started and there doesn’t seem to be a way to really survive. After a second watching of World War Z, I started to wonder what I’d do if I stepped out my house to see a zombie shuffling towards me. How would I keep the dogs safe?

Back to the real world…

According to a Pet360 survey, 46% of pet owners don’t have a disaster plan. We’re included in that plan. We have the stickers at the doors, but they came with the house; I haven’t updated them since we moved in 4 years ago. I have bats in strategic places around the house and the false sense of bravado that comes with living with a cop, but I don’t have a plan. And there’s a panic button on the alarm system so hopefully when disaster hits, the power is still on.

How to be prepared for an emergency…

In support of National Preparedness Month, Pet360 and Red Paw Emergency Relief Team have pulled together the Four P’s of Pet Preparedness:

  1. Plan ahead – Many local and state health and safety regulations do not allow pets to accompany their owners to disaster shelters (Philadelphia DOES allow pets in disaster shelters). Determine the best evacuation plan, including where to go and how to get your pets there safely. Follow this emergency planning checklist, and you’ll be well-prepared.
  2. Practice with your pets – The first step of any pet evacuation plan is to quickly and safely remove your pet from harm’s way. Your pet may be inclined to run and hide when disaster strikes, so be sure to rehearse a “come” command with your dog and identify a reliable way to find your cat, maybe by opening a can of food. Also practice putting your cat in a carrier and getting your dog in and out of the car. The more you practice, the more comfortable they’ll be.
  3. Pack an emergency kit – Assembling an emergency go-kit well in advance of a disaster will ensure nothing gets left behind. Your pet emergency kit should include first aid supplies, proof of ownership, vaccination history, and at least one of your pet’s favorite toys or blankets. Not sure what else to pack? Check out Pet360’s top 10 pet emergency kit items.
  4. Protect your pets when they’re home alone – Disasters can strike when you’re not home. Display a Pet Alert sticker on your front door or window to let first responders know how many pets are inside. Remember to include your veterinarian’s contact information.

My next steps…

As a grown up, I understand that it’s highly unlikely that I’ll step out to empty the trash only to be chased back inside by zombies, but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be prepared for an emergency. So my goal is to have a plan in place (practiced several times) before the new year.