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Is your pet prepared to ‘bug out’ if a disaster strikes here?

As a hurricane threatens South Florida, pets owners are reminded that their furry friends need their own supplies in the event of an emergency.

WASHINGTON — It’s been busy at stores like REI and Bass Pro Shops, which are selling a lot of “disaster buckets” and other supplies that you’ll need should disaster strike.

But is your pet just as ready as you are? Have you put together a “go kit” for your furry family members?

“I lived in Florida long enough, so I know to have disaster kits ready to go,” said Sarah Miller, who recently moved to D.C. from Naples, Florida.

Food, “piddle pads” and an extra leash are the main items in Miller’s kit for Teddy, her Pomeranian.

Miller shared her wisdom at Kriser’s Natural Pet, the natural foods pet shop in Northwest D.C.

“You need to have your proper stuff ready, so in an emergency, you can just go,” said Robert Thomas, the store’s “pack leader” (i.e., general manager).

“You should have a leash. You should have a harness. You should have some sort of freeze-dried food. That way you don’t have to worry about cans. You can crumble it up; give it to them as a treat,” he said.

The exception to the “no-cans” rule, Thomas said, is for cats. They get much of their water from their food.

“So you might need to have more canned food than dry food for the cat. Because if you’re not able to get water to them, they still get their moisture from the canned food.”

Thomas also recommends anxiety pills for pets.

“There’s something called Happy Traveler and Tranquil Blend. You can be in a rush, and you don’t want them to take that anxiety on that you have.”

Many shelters take pets, but many more do not. The Department of Homeland Security, which has a Web page devoted to dealing with pets during emergencies, recommends you call ahead to find accommodations for your animals at your destination — be it vets, kennels or pet-friendly hotels.

DHS also says:

  • Bring your pet’s paperwork along with your own vital documents.
  • Make sure your animals’ collars or harnesses contain ID information.
  • Bring sanitation supplies such as pet litter, paper towels, newspaper, plastic trash bags and household bleach.
  • Bring pet toys or other items familiar to the animal.
  • Bring a picture of you and your pet together.


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