Numerous studies have highlighted the link between a pet’s health and the mental wellness of its owner.
EDWARDSVILLE — If you are like millions of animal owners nationwide, your pet is an important member of your household. When preparing your family for disaster, it is important not to overlook the needs of your cherished family pets.
While the Madison County Health Department is focused on the health and wellness of county residents, numerous studies have highlighted the link between a pet’s health and the mental wellness of its owner.
“When our pets are sick or injured, it can have a negative impact on the entire family,” said Madison County Chairman Alan J. Dunstan, a pet owner.
“We are asking pet owners in Madison County to include the needs of their pets when they develop the plan for how their family will handle an emergency or disaster situation.
”According to the Health Department, individuals or families need to be self-reliant for three days without electricity and water service, or access to a supermarket and other local services. People need to remember their pets will be subjected to the same hardships as their owners during an emergency or disaster,” Dunstan said.
Being prepared for an emergency starts with putting together a pet survival kit that may include:
- Pet food, bottled water, medications, veterinary records, cat litter/pan, manual can opener, food dishes and first aid kit.
- Identification tags. Be sure they are up-to-date and securely fastened to your pet's collar. If possible, attach the address and/or phone number of your evacuation site. If your pet gets lost, this tag is their ticket home.
- A current photo of your pet for identification purposes.
- A secure pet carrier and leash or harness for your pet. If you need to evacuate in an emergency situation, take your pets with you.
Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. Plan how you will assemble your pets and anticipate where you will go. Not all public shelters take in pets.
Talk to your veterinarian about “microchipping” to help to identify your pet if you become separated. Obtain “Pets Inside” stickers and place them on your doors or windows, including information on the number and types of pets in your home. To order a “Pet Inside” sticker, visit https://www.aspca.org/form/free-pet-safety-pack. This helps alert firefighters and rescue workers to search for pets in your home. If time permits, remember to write the words “Evacuated with Pets” across the sticker if you were able to evacuate all pets from your home.
For more information about emergency preparedness in Madison County, visit www.madisonchd.org/public-health-emergency-response.shtml. To become a Medical Reserve Corps volunteer call (618)296-6096 or visit www.madisonchd.org/medical-reserve-corps.shtml. For quick tips on Preparedness for your Pets visit www.madisonchd.org/public-health-resources.shtml. For more tips on what to include in your emergency supply kit visit www.ready.gov.