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Three steps to protect your pets

(SPM Wire) Your pet is part of the family. So when it comes to disaster preparedness, keeping pets safe should enter into the equation.

Here are three simple ways pet owners can prepare for emergencies and prevent accidents:

• The American Red Cross recommends taking a Pet First Aid Class to learn such basics as how to administer medicine, treat wounds, care for injuries and prepare for disasters. Whether you’re at home or on the road, these skills can save lives.

• Depending on the type of emergency situation you’re faced with, your home may become an unsafe place to stay. Evacuation plans should include pets. Know in advance if you have friends or family with whom you and your pet can stay. If that’s not possible, keep a list of boarding facilities or hotels that accept animal companions.

• Ensure toxic chemicals in your home, such as cleaning supplies, are inaccessible to pets. Additionally, be sure any medications are sealed and out of reach of curious paws. If you suspect your pet has consumed a poisonous substance, contact the ASPCA poison hotline at (888) 426-4435. The hotline operates 24 hours a day.

With a little knowledge and preparation, you can be a more responsible pet owner.

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