Emergency Preparedness for Pets

Posted on: September 24, 2015

By Lee Flynn

Imagine finding out that your home is in the path of a destructive storm and you have been given the order to evacuate. Knowing that you live in an area prone to severe weather, you put your 72-hour kit(s) in the trunk of your car, check to make sure that your home will be secure while you’re gone, and turn around to see your pet.

In the event that you have to evacuate your home, remember that if you leave, your pets should leave with you. Never leave a pet alone or set them loose believing that their natural instincts will kick in and that they can survive on their own. Always bring pets indoors at the first sign of an approaching storm. Pets may become disoriented and wander away from home during an emergency.

“Always be prepared.” It’s the Boy Scout Motto and is especially true when faced with the threat of a natural disaster. You have an emergency plan for your family but you also need to have an emergency plan for your pet(s).

When developing an emergency plan for your pet, consider the following:

Geography and Climate
Depending on which part of the country you live in, your family may be threatened by tornadoes, hurricanes, wild fires, blizzards or, mudslides. You also need to take into consideration the climate in which you live; this will affect your emergency plans.

Emergency Routes and Shelter Locations
You should have at least two emergency evacuation routes mapped out and you should drive these several times to become familiar with them. Where you shelter is also important. Call ahead of time to find out if there are pet friendly shelters or pet friendly hotels available if you don’t have a friend or family’s home to go to. Preparing ahead of time will lessen your pet’s stress.

Micro-chip Your Pets
If you have not already done so, consider having your pet micro-chipped. This will help in the event that you and your pet become separated. Keep recent photos of your pet(s) on hand to help in identification.

Collars and Tags
Be sure that your pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date information. Your pet’s ID tag should contain his name, telephone number, and urgent medical needs.

Prepare an Emergency Kit for Your Pet
Your pet has the same needs as any other member of your family. Your pet’s emergency kit should be clearly labelled. Make sure that everyone in the family knows where it is.

Items to consider keeping in or near your kit include:

• Up to 7 days of emergency food which can be either canned (pop-top) or dry food. Rotate the food every two months.
• Up to a 7 day water supply. Store your water in a cool, dry place and rotate it every 2 months.
Pet water/feeding dishes.
• Extra collar and leash.
• A sturdy pet carrier, one per pet. Be sure to write your pet’s name, your contact information, and any medical needs on your pet’s carrier.
Pet first-aid kit.
• Liquid dish soap, disinfectant, and paper towels.
• Disposable garbage bags for clean-up.
• Disposable litter pans and scoop-able litter. Aluminum roasting pans make great emergency litter pans.
• Photocopies of medical records and a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires. Rotate the medicine every two months.
• A fleece blanket or piece of fleece fabric (for picking up a scared or nervous pet). The blanket can also be used in the pet’s carrier.
• Favorite toys.

Be sure and take into consideration the type of pet you own, the age of your pet, and the special needs of your pet when preparing an emergency kit. Review the kit annually to determine if your pet’s needs have changed.

Be prepared; take simple steps now to reduce your family’s and your pet’s stress during an emergency.

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