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(NC)-Every family needs an emergency plan - and that includes the steps required to take care of the furry and feathered members of your family.
 

In case of an evacuation, pets may not be allowed in public shelters or hotels, so it's a good idea to prepare an alternative if they can't go with you. Options include taking them to the home of a relative or friend, or in advance, identifying pet-friendly hotels or boarding facilities near you. The following tips from Public Safety Canada will help you keep pets safe:
 

Identify your pet. If you become separated from your little one during an emergency, their identification may be the only way to find them. Make sure each animal wears a collar and identification tag at all times.
 

Put together a pet emergency kit. Here are some things to include:
 

• A sturdy crate or carrier;
 

• A strong leash or harness;
 

• ID tag and collar;
 

• Food and water for at least 72 hours (4L/day per average dog, 1L/day per average cat);
 

• Bowls and can opener for food;
 

• Newspaper, paper towels, plastic bags, litter, and/or litter box;
 

• Special medications, dosage, and veterinarian's contact information;
 

• Pet file (including recent photos of the animal, your emergency numbers, contact information for friends who could house your pet, copies of any licenses, and vaccination records);
 

• A pet first-aid kit;
 

• Blanket and toy.
 

Plan for evacuations. The best way to protect your pet in an emergency is to bring it with you. Most evacuation shelters will only accept service animals. Make a list of where your pet can be taken in case you need to evacuate, such as:
 

• Hotels, motels, and other pet-friendly lodging;
 

• Boarding centres and animal shelters;
 

• Animal clinics;
 

• Family members and friends
 

Keep your pet inside during severe weather. Animals are sensitive to sudden changes in temperature and often isolate themselves when scared. Never leave a pet outside or tethered during a storm.
 

Separate cats and dogs. Keep smaller pets such as hamsters away from larger animals. Stress can lead to unusual behaviour.
 

If ordered to evacuate, take your pet with you. If you must leave your pets in the house, do not tether or cage them. Leave a sign in the window and a note on the door indicating what animals are inside. Provide water and food, and leave toilet seats up. Keep newspaper inside for hygiene purposes and feed your pet wet food in order to reduce the amount of water it may need.
 

More information on emergency preparedness is available online at www.GetPrepared.ca.

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