Winter Tip: Bring your furry friends inside!

A fur coat is nice, but won't be enough to keep your four-legged family members safe... bring them inside.

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Being prepared for an emergency means thinking about the needs of all the members of your family - including pets.

If you are like millions of animal owners nationwide, your pet is an important member of your household. Unfortunately, animals are also affected by disaster.

Take a few minutes to check out the information on ready.gov specifically addressing tips and tools for pet owners.

The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency such as a fire or flood, tornado or terrorist attack depends largely on emergency planning done today. Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system, are the same for any emergency. Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. Keep in mind that what's best for you is typically what's best for your animals.

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If you evacuate your home, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND! Pets most likely cannot survive on their own and if by some remote chance they do, you may not be able to find them when you return.

If you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets; consider loved ones or friends outside of your immediate area who would be willing to host you and your pets in an emergency.

Make a back-up emergency plan in case you can't care for your animals yourself. Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer.

As you put together supplies for your family’s emergency kit, be sure to think about the well-being of your pets.

Include food water and medicine to sustain your pets for at least three days.

Visit ready.gov for a complete list of suggested items, along with recommendations for how to prepare an emergency plan that includes your pets.

image of pet emergency kit and contents Pet Emergency Kits include special needs for Furry Friends in a Disaster.

Remember that pet food and medicines can spoil, so check your kit regularly to make sure everything in it is still fresh.

Use the Pet Owners Brochure and the Pet Instructional Video to help you create an emergency plan and kit for your pet.

For additional information, please contact the Humane Society of the United States.

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