What would happen to your pet if a tornado hit Shelton?

In light of the recent tragedy in Oklahoma and with hurricane season just around the corner on the East Coast, doctors from BluePearl Veterinary Partners recommend that families remember their pets when making household emergency plans.

“Having an emergency plan in place for every member of your family, including your pets, is extremely important,” said Dr. Neil Shaw, chief medical officer of BluePearl Veterinary Partners. “Most importantly, talk with your family veterinarian to formulate an emergency plan specific to your pet’s needs.”

Micro-chipping a pet

BluePearl doctors recommend speaking with a veterinarian about micro-chipping a pet, so in the event an owner and pet are separated, the pet can be quickly identified and reunited with its owner.

While the number of pets affected from the Oklahoma tornado on Monday isn’t quite known yet, during Hurricane Katrina, it is estimated more than 250,000 pets were separated from their families.

While earthquakes and tornadoes can occur at any moment, hurricane season begins on June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.

Here are some tips from BluePearl doctors:

Before a disaster

— Make sure that your pets are current on their vaccinations. Pet shelters may require proof of vaccines.

— Have a current photograph.

— Keep a collar with identification on your pet and have a leash on hand to control your pet.

— Have a properly-sized pet carrier for each animal. Carriers should be large enough for the animal to stand  and turn around.

— Plan your evacuation strategy, and don’t forget to take your pet. Specialized pet shelters, animal control shelters, veterinary clinics, and friends and relatives out of harm’s way are potential refuges for your pet during a disaster.

— If you plan to shelter your pet, work it into your evacuation route planning.

During a disaster

— Animals brought to a pet shelter are required to have: Proper identification collar and rabies tag; proper identification on all belongings; a carrier or cage; a leash; an ample supply of food, water and food bowls; any necessary medications; specific care instructions; and newspapers or trash bags for cleanup.

— Bring pets indoor well in advance of a storm; reassure them and remain calm.

— Pet shelters will be filled on first come, first served basis. Call ahead and determine availability.

After a disaster

— Walk pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to their home. Often, familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and pets could easily be confused and become lost. Also, downed power lines and debris can pose a threat for animals after a disaster.

— If pets cannot be found after a disaster, contact the local animal control office to find out where lost animals can be recovered. Bring along a picture of your pet if possible.

— After a disaster, animals can become aggressive or defensive; monitor their behavior.

— Don’t forget your pet when preparing a family disaster plan.

Pet disaster supply kit

— Proper identification, including immunization records

— Ample supply of food and water

— A carrier or cage

— Medications

— Muzzle, collar and leash

About BluePearl Veterinary Partners

Formed in 2008, the Florida-based BluePearl Veterinary Partners employs more than 1,200 people, including about 250 veterinarians. It operates around-the-clock emergency care service facilities in 12 states on the East Coast and in the Midwest.