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PetSmart® hosts donation drive to help pets impacted by emergencies

Last updated on May 18, 2021

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June is National Pet Preparedness Month and with hurricane and wildfire season just weeks away, PetSmart® is helping local animal welfare organizations prepare for a safe summer. Select stores across the U.S. and Canada will host the third annual pet food donation drive. By helping these animal welfare and pet rescue organizations stockpile food, PetSmart is helping them prepare for natural disasters and unexpected emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through Sunday, May 30, PetSmart customers are invited to purchase and donate dry or wet dog and cat food in stores to then be delivered to nearby animal welfare organizations assisting pets in need in their community.

Hub City Humane in Hattiesburg, MS was one of the animal welfare organizations who benefitted from the PetSmart food drive last year.

“Living near the coastline makes preparing for hurricane season a big priority for us,” Megan Marlowe, Hub City Humane board member said. “Last year, PetSmart customers and associates raised donations translating to more than 5,000 pounds of food for our animals. We’re so grateful for the support our local PetSmart store has given us over the years – not only with the donation drives but with helping us find our shelter animals loving homes.”

To further support local animal welfare organizations and pet shelters in their mission to help pets in need, customers may also donate to PetSmart Charities at the PIN pad located at the registers in all PetSmart stores year-round, as well as online at petsmartcharities.org

Tips to Keep Pets Safe During Severe Weather

Whether it’s a tornado, a hurricane, an earthquake, a wildfire or a flood— natural disasters are frightening and often unexpected. PetSmart’s resident veterinarian and pet care expert, Jennifer Freeman, DVM, says pet parents should know how to keep their pets safe and calm in the event of a natural disaster.

“The best way to keep pets safe during an emergency is to prepare in advance,” Freeman said. “It is common to overlook pets when preparing for an emergency but taking a few simple steps to include your pets’ needs in your family preparedness plan will help ensure they are comfortable and safe in the event of an emergency.”

Dr. Freeman suggests the following pet preparedness safety tips:

Ensure your pets are safely contained. When severe weather warnings go into effect, crate or kennel your animals. Consider getting a pet carrier if you don’t already have one and practicing crate training in advance to avoid extra stress in the face of an emergency. For fish or turtles, it’s a good idea to have buckets or plastic bins with a lid on hand in the event you need to evacuate them. This is a safer alternative to transporting these pets in glass bowls or aquariums.  

Make sure your pet has identification. Countless pets go missing after storms, wildfires and other natural disasters. Proper ID on your pet is the best assurance that you and your pet are reunited in the event you are separated. “Consider microchip identification for your pets, as this is a permanent way to identify them and is used universally by animal shelters and veterinarians,” Freeman said.  

Look for pet-friendly housing options for your pet should you need to evacuate your home. Ensure your pet is up to date on vaccinations, which are often needed for boarding, and that you have a supply of your pet’s medication. 

  • Ask friends, relatives and others outside of your immediate area whether they could shelter your animals.
  • Prepare a list of animal shelters, boarding facilities and veterinarian offices that could shelter animals during an emergency and include 24-hour phone numbers.
  • If you plan to take your pet with you, seek out pet-friendly hotels that are along possible evacuation routes in advance so that you are not caught without a place to stay for the night.

Assemble a pet emergency supply kit. Pet emergency kits do not need to be big but should include the following, in an easy-to-carry waterproof container that can be taken in the event of an evacuation. 

  • Portable food and water bowls, along with a one-week supply of food and fresh water
  • Vaccination records
  • An extra supply of medication including heartworm and flea/tick prevention (if refrigeration is necessary, have easy access to a small, insulated bag or cooler)
  • Pet First-Aid items such as antiseptic spray, antibacterial ointment, and bandage material. These are easy solutions that can deliver quick first-aid care in the event of a pet injury.
  • A list of regional pet-friendly hotels
  • A bed, carrier and leash and harness for each animal
  • Pet waste bags
  • Cat litter, litter box and scoop
  • Current photos of your pets, in case they get lost

Provide comfort. Severe weather or leaving home can be frightening to pets. Provide your dog or cat with a familiar toy or blanket or try aids like calming sprays, collars, chews, supplements, anti-anxiety medications, or a ThunderShirt™ to help ease anxiety. 

Be aware of “paw-level” hazards post-storm. Sharp debris, toxic spilled chemicals, fertilizers and other substances on the floor of the home or ground outside may pose less risk to upright humans but can be dangerous to ground-level pets. Downed power lines from hurricanes and high water from floods can also pose a threat to humans and animals after a disaster. Take the time to consider the dangers your pet will face before entering an area, home, shelter or other building. 

For additional pet safety tips and resources, visit PetSmart’s Learning Center or speak with an in-store PetSmart associate.


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