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Simple steps can protect pets in weather disasters

Updated: May 22, 2013 03:01 PM EDT
© Ryan McVay / Photodisc / Thinkstock © Ryan McVay / Photodisc / Thinkstock

WEDNESDAY, May 22 (HealthDay News) -- In the aftermath of this week's deadly tornado, many people in Oklahoma are not only struggling to care for children and relatives, but also their pets.

Finding a missing pet that's been displaced during a natural disaster and relocating to temporary housing can be stressful, but experts from the American Kennel Club are offering a few tips on how to ease that transition.

One smart step: Always carry a picture of yourself with your pet that can be used to help identify any animals displaced during an emergency.

Other steps to ensure the safe evacuation of a pet due to a natural disaster:

Stay with your pet. Although many evacuations do not last more than a few days, you may not be able to return home quickly. If at all possible, never leave your pets behind.

Make sure pets have ID. Pets should always wear a collar with their rabies tag and identification. Make sure all of your contact information on your pet's tag is current. During an evacuation also pack a backup leash, collar and ID tag.

Find shelter. Animal-related businesses often provide shelter for people and animals in the event of a natural disaster. Dog club members outside of an affected area may also provide shelter and transportation for those in need. Many emergency shelters also allow people to bring their pets as well.

The experts note that microchips can also help locate pets displaced during an emergency. In the wake of the recent storms, the American Kennel Club has donated 200 microchips and six microchip scanners to help locate and recover pets displaced in Oklahoma.

More information

The Humane Society provides more information on how to make a disaster plan for pets.

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