This post is sponsored by Hill’s. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s® Science Diet® and Food, Shelter & Love® program, but Playful Kitty only shared information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrtion, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.
Disasters can come in many forms; floods, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, snow storms, terrorist attacks, and more. Often they strike much more quickly than we imagined and leave us with little room to stop and think about what to do. Disaster preparedness needs to be on our minds with the coming summer season.
National Pet Disaster Preparedness Day
Almost 10 years ago, in August of 2005, the destruction from Hurricane Katrina left the United States stunned. The city of New Orleans, Louisiana was underwater when the category 3 hurricane caused a massive breech of the levies. No one was prepared for the more than $100 billion worth of damage that would be done (source). Nearly 2,000 people lost their lives in the wake of Hurricane Katrina (source), tens of thousands of more people fled the city, and more than 250,000 pets were abandoned (source).
Hurricane Katrina was a huge wake up call. In response, FEMA has created the National Pet Disaster Preparedness Day (May 9th) to raise awareness about the importance of planning for your pets’ safety before a disaster hits. It is very important that pet owners learn what they can do to protect their pets so that there is never another pet crisis like there was in Hurricane Katrina.
The Hill’s Disaster Relief Network
Disasters leave pet owners with some very difficult decisions to make. Organizations like the Red Cross do wonders for humans caught in disasters, but they don’t always have the means to support pets as well. When people can’t take their pets with them to relief shelters, the pets often end up at animals shelters that are near the disaster zone. These animal shelters can become very overwhelmed an low on resources – that’s where Hill’s® Pet Nutrition® comes to the rescue.
In 2013, the Hill’s® Food, Shelter & Love® program expanded to include the Hill’s Food, Shelter, & Love Disaster Relief Network. It is the first program of its kind! When a disaster happens, the local animal shelter can send an email to Hill’s letting them know how many cats and how many dogs will need food and for how many days. Then Hill’s ships the food directly to these shelters where it can be used by the shelter or distributed to pet owners in need. Shelters will receive highly nutritious pet foods such as Hill’s® Science Diet® Optimal Care® Original for cats! During the first year of the program, the Hill’s Disaster Network helped 50 shelters and veterinary clinics across the US. To find a shelter in your area that is a part of the Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love Disaster Network, click here.
7 Tips from Hills that could help you and your pet during a disaster.
The Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love Disaster Relief Network has 7 tips that could help you and your pet survive a disaster. To be as accurate as possible, these tips are copied and pasted directly from their website:
- Ensure your pet can be identified by either a microchip or collar ID tag and that contact information is up to-date.
- Prepare a “Pet Emergency Go-Kit” of pet supplies that is readily accessible in an emergency. Your Pet
Go-Kit should include the following: first aid supplies and guide book; a 3-day supply of pet food in a
waterproof container and bottled water; a safety harness and leash; waste clean-up supplies; medications and medical records; a contact list of veterinarian and pet care organizations; information on your pet’s feeding routine and any behavioral issues; comfort toys; and a blanket.
- 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 in your house when they are frightened. Finding them 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 if possible for transport and safe-keeping.
Have you and your pets ever been caught in a disaster?