June is quickly approaching and for most coastal regions the thought of a hurricane begins to creep into our minds.

We become concerned about the safety of our homes, our pets and ourselves.

However, hurricanes are not the only disasters that can confront our well being and that of our pets. Floods, wildfires,dog grooming accessories tornadoes, riots and terrorists attacks add to the list of things that can happen.

The important thing is to have a plan. Hurricane Katrina was a disaster that displaced not only thousands of people but displaced many animals and unfortunately many died along with their owners. It is said that approximately 44 percent of Hurricane Katrina's victims were pet owners that would not leave their pets.

Until Katrina hit, our country was not too pet friendly in the light of disasters. Most, if not all, did not allow pets of any kind to be brought to a designated shelter.

Currently many states are now providing shelters for owners and their pets providing they follow certain restrictions. Red Cross shelters however, will not allow pets. It is not their rule, but that of the local health departments. A Red Cross shelter is for the benefit of those who do not have pets, who are afraid of pets or who have allergies to pets.

It is up to "you" the pet owner to check your local facilities and see what shelters will allow pets and what size and kind of pet is allowed.

Planning ahead for yourself and your pet should be at the top of your list of things to do. The problem with advance preparing is that many of us go into the "denial mode. " We tell ourselves that whatever the disaster is "it is not going to involve us. " Then it hits and we are not even prepared for ourselves let alone our pets.

So what should a pet owner do? In the following paragraphs I am going to give you some tips on how to keep your cat or dog as safe as humanly possible. The important thing is to remember you need to prepare before a disaster strikes.

A disaster kit should be large enough to contain all the things you normally need for your pet for at least a 7-day period. It should be waterproof (a plastic container with a tight fitting lid) and labeled "disaster supplies cat or dog. "

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