Today more than ever, due to the magnitude in which natural phenomena tend to occur, experts urge the population where it is most affected by the different natural disasters that threaten life, to stay safe. Of course, that also means keeping your pets safe.

Wild animals rely on their instincts to flee to higher ground during extreme weather conditions, so these same animals are expected to withstand various storms and disasters safely , and experts urge animal lovers not to interfere with your behavior. It is only likely to confuse them. But pets are different.

Dogs, in particular, have an evolutionary need to stay close to their humans no matter what the circumstances, which makes them particularly vulnerable in times like these. To avoid tragedy, be sure to follow these tips. You will keep your pet safe in whatever Mother Nature throws her way , be it hurricanes or in other ways.

In natural disasters keep your pet safe

Don’t leave them behind

It bears repeating that your pet does not have the same survival instincts as a wild animal. If they fall behind, they are likely to get lost and confused, and the chances are high that they won’t make it.

According to the Louisiana SPCA, 44% of people did not evacuate due to Hurricane Katrina because they refused to leave their pets behind, but that means as many as 104,000 of them were left behind. Although getting exact numbers is practically impossible, it is estimated that between 50,000 and 70,000 of them died.

Make sure your pet wears a collar

Bring a photo of your pet with you in case it’s needed for identification purposes. If you haven’t already, it’s worth microchipping your pet by having your vet install a small, permanent chip under your pet’s skin to make it easier to identify them if they get lost. According to the Louisiana SPCA, of the 15,500 animals rescued during Katrina, only 15% -20% were reunited with their owners.

Buy extra pet supplies

Put a pet carrier, plenty of pet food, and a leash in a safe and easily accessible place so you can quickly grab them in case you need to evacuate.

Don’t leave them caged if a natural disaster is coming

This should be obvious. If you absolutely must leave your pet, it should be in a safe area inside your home that is stocked with plenty of water in several containers, as well as at least 10 days of dry food (canned food can go bad).

Check with hotels

Many hotels lift their no-pet policies in emergencies, but it’s worth knowing which ones are pet-friendly ahead of time. Keep your veterinary records in the emergency kit mentioned above, as some hotels (as well as shelters) require them.

Join a parenting network

Thanks to Facebook, people can quickly share updates and warnings on social media, which can save lives. Groups like this have information about people who are willing to raise or transport animals in times of crisis. A photo once went viral on Twitter showing a long line of people hoping to pick up foster dogs for the weekend, so there are plenty of good people proving that humans can really show up in times of crisis.

Donate to an animal shelter

If you’re concerned about whether or not you’ll be able to properly care for your pet during a storm, it’s worth calling a shelter to see if they can pick up your animal companion. But if you are not near the disaster area and you love animals , donating money is one of the ways you can help an extremely noble cause, as the cost of evacuating animals is enormous.

If you are in a safe area, consider adopting

Many shelters reduce or waive adoption fees in these types of settings. And some are warning people that some pets will need to be euthanized due to overcrowding.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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