Nature + Nurture: Animal Welfare during a Natural Disaster
By Jaclyn Amaru
In response to recent events relating to animal welfare and hurricane preparedness, we at Horse Tack Co. felt it was important to bring to you helpful advice and things to consider when faced with natural disaster. While we may not have control over weather patterns, we do have control over being prepared and having a plan in place for the safety of our animals. When you figure out which products are best for you to be the most prepared, head over to Horse Tack Co. and use the promo code “LoveTheRide” upon checkout to receive 15% off your order, all-the-time and anytime.
A good start would be to fill out a simple, free form for an alert decal that states that pets that live inside your home so that emergency responders will know right away in times of rescue. In an evacuation situation, you should always take your small animals with you, never leave them behind, planning to come back later. That could be weeks, months! Know beforehand which shelters have been established as “pet friendly” by clicking this link and familiarizing yourself with your area. Also, be aware that most shelters will require your pets to be up to date on vaccines, most importantly rabies, so make sure you keep a copy of your rabies vaccination in your emergency evacuation kit.
Many hotels and motels will also open their doors to accommodate pets as well; so don’t be afraid to ask especially under extreme circumstances. Pack familiar toys and calming tools, such as a Posture Prep Cross Fiber Groomer and a vet wrap can come in handy because not only will it help anyone or any animal with an injury, but you can also wrap your pet up with it to create an anxiety blanket. Finally, be sure to bring a crate or carrier for your animals along with food, pet litter or any medications your pet will require (at least 2-3 weeks worth.)
If there is no mandatory evacuation and you plan to hunker down and stay home, have things handy like a net, heavy duty gloves, towels and a flashlight in case you need to get a frightened small animal out from a tight space. Never chain any animal outside, small or large, as they can become trapped. Keep your leashes and collars together, along with your keys, food, water and medications in case you need to leave in a hurry. Prepare a small carry all in advance so you do not waste time in emergency situations.
In terms of your larger animals, it is not always easy to bring them with you when you need to evacuate an area. This is why having plans in place for natural disasters are vital. Keep your horses up to date on vaccinations, especially for mosquito borne illnesses in the event of mass flooding where stagnant water serves as a breeding ground. Also, organize a water and fireproof first-aid kit complete with tape, vet wrap, medications, ointments and other great items suggested in our other Horse Safety “Love the Ride” blog post.
If evacuation orders are served, then try to trailer your horses to a safer location. Your animals may sense your nervousness, having a product like Equi-Calm can help ease their nerves and make transporting them a lot easier on all. Make giving food and water easier on the road with reusable travel buckets. Be aware of where large animal shelters are located. Note that any shelter or barn taking in horses will need to show proof of a negative coggins.
If transporting is not an option and you choose to stay home, based on the type of disaster expected, the layout of the property and surrounding structures; like trees, power lines, etc., should determine where you want to leave your large animals: enclosed or turned out. If you are in a flood zone, horses should be turned out without halters because in a stall or barn, they do not have a chance to escape and halters can easily catch on any type of debris trapping the animal. If your horse does get loose, having a halter on will make it easier to catch, so if you do decide to don one, leather is superior to nylon, as it will break easier if it needs to. Either way, be sure at least two forms of identification can be found on the animal’s body. This can be in the form of a microchip, tattoo, brand, tag braided into the mane or tail, non-toxic body paint written on the body, or even shaved in with a good pair of clippers. Be sure that the information contains your personal information and a number for someone out of state as well, furthermore keep a picture of you and your pet on your person in case you do become separated.
Here at Horse Tack Co. we are strong supporters of animal welfare and we want to make sure our customers are well prepared for any natural disaster before it strikes. With hurricane season upon us and the aftermath of Harvey, Irma and Maria in our thoughts, we cannot help but stress the importance of having a plan and being prepared. To purchase any of the products mentioned above, to order or to ask questions- visit Horse Tack Co. and love your ride! Don’t forget to use the promo code “LoveTheRide” upon checkout to receive 15% off your order, all-the-time and anytime! Be Safe.