Protecting Pets During Disasters

Among the most heartbreaking scenes in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina were images of pets left behind by owners who had to evacuate.

But the House of Representatives passed a bill last month calling for state and local emergency agencies to prepare plans to address the needs of pets and pet owners in the event of a major disaster. A similar measure is pending before the Senate.

Would you know what to do for your pets if you had to evacuate?

On The Early Show Thursday, resident veterinarian Dr. Debbye Turner offered suggestions on what to include in any plan you map out.

Turner says, "Just a little bit of planning can make all the difference when disaster strikes."

Among the items Turner advises that you have in an emergency kit you can grab in a hurry: a pet first aid kit, a picture of your pet, in case you get separated, a small bag of litter, newspapers, paper towels, plastic bags, household cleaners, a rescue alert window sticker, an empty prescription medicine bottle, a pet carrier, and a portable food and water bowl, extra food, and extra water. Also, call ahead of time to find hotels that allow pets.

Among organizations with more words to the wise: The Humane Society of the United States, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Ready.gov, and the ASPCA.

To watch Turner's report, click here.