TAYLOR, Mich. — Julie A. Calligaro, author of “Protect Your Pet With Preparation, How to Keep Your Pet Safe in an Emergency and at Your Disability or Death” (ISBN: 1-890117-13-7), says the Northern California wildfire is a reminder that owners and their pets may be forced to evacuate on short notice. Yet studies on disaster evacuation show that only 40% of pet owners are prepared to evacuate their pets with the rest of the family. The remaining 60% evacuate without their pets and then risk their own lives by returning home prematurely to rescue their animals.
Foresight and planning can protect both pet owners and their four-legged companions.
Calligaro offers these steps from her book to protect pets in a fire emergency:
* Include pets in the family’s evacuation plan.
* Rehearse your evacuation plan repeatedly with your family including your dog.
* Have a Pet Safety Kit ready and keep an extra kit in your car.
* Listen to your dog. Canines have the ability to smell smoke long before humans. If your dog is acting strangely, investigate the situation immediately and be prepared to gather your family and pets and follow your evacuation plan.
* Be sure your fire evacuation plan accounts for dogs in pens and crates. Fire experts say the number one reason dogs perish in a fire is because they are confined to their pens and cannot escape.
* Use Pet Rescue Stickers on windows to inform firefighters that you have a pet inside.
* Research pet friendly lodging to have a place to board your pet if necessary.
* Give a key to a trusted neighbor and make sure they know where your pet or pets are likely to be in the house so they can inform firefighters.
* If your pet was in a smoke filled building or if you can smell smoke on his fur take him to a veterinarian. Toxic fumes can be deadly.
For more information about how to protect pets in a weather emergency and at disability or death, visit http://www.safeguardmydog.com.