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  Do you have a Plan for your animals?
Photo of Lena by Diana Olson.
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If You Have Domesticated Your Animals, You Owe It to Them to Become “Animal Disaster Prepared”

They are part of our lives – the Animals: goats, donkeys, mules, cattle, horses, emus, alpacas, lamas, sheep, pigs, rabbits, hedgehogs, mice, rats, chinchillas, raccoons, bears, deer, elk, buffalo, skunks, monkeys, snakes, cats, dogs, birds, squirrels, birds, chickens, or any others I may not have mentioned.

They give us friendship and companionship. Some even help increase our family income and business profits.

Yet when disaster strikes, have you made plans to care for them? Don’t wait! Here are 6 simple things you can do to plan to care for your animals if disaster strikes.

1.) Store Extra Water
How about storing some extra water for your animals in case of an emergency. Just like humans, animals will need water in case of an emergency. (Horses need at least 8 gallons per day!)

This winter, if you have outside animals, remember that when the water is very cold - animals drink less and you may have to break the ice for them. Many animals need water so you might consider a way of having warm water for them!

2.) Store Food and Be Sure You Re-cycle it Every 3 Months
Do you have extra feed on hand or available for your animals in case of a disaster? It’s important to store extra feed for your animals. Also make sure that you have a place to store the food. If you have grains, keep them in covered containers. (Remember not to store grains in rubber or plastic containers.)

3.) ID Your Animals
It’s important to have a way to identify your animals. Keep a current photo and keep them in a water-proof bag. You might even want to order two sets of pictures and store the second set someplace other than at home. If you own horses or cattle, and you do not have a brand inspection – get one.

4.) Find A Buddy
If you are away a lot or work far away from home, you may want to find a neighbor or friend that could check up on your animals in case you can’t get home. Let them know where the food and water is and make sure they understand what your animals eat and how much. Also any write our instructions about any medications that need to be administered.

We have a white board in our barn and where we write instructions about feeding and watering our horses. Take a few minutes to explain things or write them out. You can also write out instructions and put them in a large plastic bag and put it someplace people would know to look. (i.e. near where the food is stored.)

5.) Make Plans If You Can Not Return Home
If you can’t return home, plan ways that you can care for your animals. Remember that many human shelters do not allow animals, so you’ll need to talk with people you know, your vet, and friends. If you have to leave your animals try and make a plan for caring for them you might even call your local Humane Society and see if they have contacts or an organized group that could help you.

6.) Start a Disaster Kit and Keep on Adding...
Write down things that you might need including food, blankets, first aid supplies, medications, bedding and tools. Start putting the kit together – start with a flashlight and batteries. And do not forget to include water for your animals.

7.) Select Several Safe Places to Meet
Talk it over with your family and friends. Think about it, where could you and animals meet up with other members of your family?

8.) Make Sure You Have Cash
Yes, you might need some cash because power could be out and so could access to any ATM. Always keep some cash in a safe place just in case.

9.) Invest the Time to Build a Preplan
Once you have all your information about your animals (records and photos) invest the time to develop your own HTML Emergency Plan that includes detailed information about your animals. It is important for people to realize that if a disaster strikes most people will have to help themselves, their families and their animals.

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