PET EMERGENCY PLAN
Amid the sheer destruction any natural disaster can have on people and property, are those videos we watch of pets who have been abandoned or lost during these horrific events.
We can see them so very helpless, and struggling to manage and survive, given the chaos around them. Remember, if it is not safe for you to remain in your home during a disaster, it is not safe for your pets!
The effects of Hurricane Katrina alerted many pet owners to how necessary it is to have an effective pet plan, in case of an emergency.
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR PETS FOR AN EMERGENCY
If evacuation is necessary, you will have to prepare, accordingly. Thankfully, many shelters are now accommodating pets. However, most will require you bring a crate. In addition, you may need to provide the shelter with up-to-date vaccination records. Seal these, and other important documents in a waterproof bag.
Planning to seek shelter in a hotel? It’s a good idea to research pet-friendly accommodations, along potential evacuation routes.
Alternatively, seeking shelter with family or friends may also warrant the need to modify a pet evacuation plan:
- Are they “pet-friendly”
- Temperament of their pets
- Ability of your pets to get along with other pets/children
- If you have multiple pets, separating them, although difficult, may be a great option
The goal to any evacuation plan, or emergent situation is the reduction of stress levels on both you, and your pet(s). Being proactive can lessen the traumatic effects on everyone involved, whether you evacuate, or ride out the event.
“To Go” Bag
As you try to navigate the short amount of time you may have to prepare for a disaster, consider creating a “to-go” bag. Especially, if you reside in parts of the world affected by unpredictable weather events:
- A copy of your pet’s immunization records
- Enough food and water for at least a week (food should be packed a day prior, or the day of to avoid expiration)
- Toys to keep your pet occupied (ie. Kongs and/or other interactive toys) (you can purchase individual peanut butter packets that have a lengthy expiration date)
- Bowls for food and water (travel bowls work best)
- Pet’s favorite blanket
- Collar and leash (may want to pack an extra one)
- First-aid kit for pets
- Plenty of “poop” bags and portable cat litter box
- Pee pads
- Pet crate or carrier
- Medications (as with food, same day packing is recommended)
- Photo of your pet(s)
- Anxiety medication
There are also pet emergency/evacuation kits available which include some of the items mentioned above.
Several organizations like the Red Cross and ASPCA are great resources in providing helpful tips during disasters for both people, and pets.
HAVE A PLAN
As mentioned earlier, the more proactive you can be now with the development of an emergency plan, the better. Being prepared may just save the lives of your pets during a disaster.
Things you can do before a disaster strikes may make all the difference in a well-executed plan:
- Have identification tags for your pets and keep them up to date with current address and phone numbers.
- Talk to your vet about microchipping.
- In the unlikely situation where you cannot take your pet with you during an evacuation, use alert stickers to inform first responders that a pet is in your home (taking them with you is the best scenario).
We understand that you cannot fully prepare for every catastrophic event, but it’s always great to have a good plan in place to help keep everyone as safe and as comfortable as you can!