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Pets need special care when disaster hits

Pets need special care when disaster hits

Wellington, 22 July 2013 - Last night’s quake is a timely reminder to pet owners about the survival needs of small animals such as cats, dogs, rabbits, budgies or even backyard chickens at times of disastrous destruction, says Dr Catherine Watson, president of the NZ Veterinary Association’s Companion Animal Society.

“So far there have been no reports of serious injury to people or animals; but we must keep in mind that conditions could change and we all need to be prepared,” she said.

Simple measures include ensuring that an earthquake kit contains enough dry or tinned food for your pets and animals to last for three days, along with extra water for them.

Managing an evacuation with pets is fraught – especially if it is urgent and pets are panicky. Having a dedicated suitable box or crate in the garage will make the job easier.

The abandonment of pets is the most difficult issue of all – especially if they have run off in a panic. Of course micro-chipping of cats and dogs is a proven way of reuniting with pets, as was so graphically found after the Christchurch quakes.

But, if you must leave, make sure that adequate food and water is left behind in case your animal returns.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals, WSPA, website contains some useful information on planning caring for pets during disasters. While we may be through the worst of the earthquakes, it is not too late for people to put a plan in place, if they have not done so already. Find out more at http://disaster.wspa.org.nz

ENDS

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