A veterinarian at Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine has advice for pet owners who want to consider how pets fit into their own household emergency plans -- especially if that includes evacuating.

Dr. Marjory Artzer, professor of clinical sciences, suggests thinking about the supplies you'd ordinarily have on hand at home but may not have access to if forced to evacuate. This includes pet food, which can be bagged in easy to handle amounts, as well as bottled water, a leash, a pet carrier and an adequate amount of any medications your pet regularly takes.

Artzer said heartworm medications and flea/tick preventatives are essential. Pet owners also may want to include bandaging material for wounds.

Pets not of the canine or feline variety require considerations in addition to the basics like food and water. Artzer said owners should think about a safe means of transport and a way for environmental temperature control.

Artzer also suggests bringing along paperwork like health records and registration.

"It may make a difference in how the pet is handled," she said.

Having pets properly identified can make an emergency or evacuation go more smoothly, too.

"An ID tag on a collar is an easy way to see immediately, but they can get lost," she said. "A permanent way is microchipping."

In an emergency, your pet's nerves can be just as frayed as yours. To make animals more comfortable, Artzer suggests doing a pets' favorite activity every day, whether it's walking, playing ball or just brushing its fur.The best time to think about an emergency or evacuation plan for your pet is before disaster strikes. Artzer suggests thinking of alternatives to evacuating with your pet ahead of time.

"Have a backup plan for help, like a friend or boarding facility," she said. "It is important to think ahead."

Source: Kansas State University

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