Protecting our four legged friends during an emergency is important, as our pets are part of our families! House pets are completely reliant on their owners for safety and nourishment and this need is only magnified during disasters.
Here’s everything you need to know about pet disaster preparedness to keep your entire family safe:
Create an Emergency Kit for your Pet
You have one for yourself, so why not create an emergency supplies kit for your pet? Before you begin building your kit, take your pet to the local veterinarian to receive a microchip.
Then, your kit should include
- sturdy leash for your pet or a kennel/crate for easy transport.
- small supply of food – “pop top” canned food is best as it lasts longer and cannot be damaged by water. Pellets in plastic containers also work well.
- two bowls – one for food, one for water.
- Pet-friendly water bottle
- supply of medications in a waterproof container.
- laminated photo of your pet in case you are separated and your phone dies.
- Laminated list of your pet’s medical conditions, eating habits, age, and personality traits, in case you need to give your pet to an emergency foster provider or boarding facility.
- toys and treats, if you can fit them.
Have a Pet Disaster Preparedness Plan
If you need to leave your home, you should know which hotels along your proposed evacuation route are pet-friendly. It’s also worth it to look up local veterinarians – just in case your pet needs veterinary care while you are away.
You should also invest in a “rescue alert sticker” often available from your local pet store or SPCA. This will let emergency workers know that there are also pets inside needing to be rescued, so they don’t think the evacuation is completed after the human members of your family are collected.
Arrange Aftercare for your Pet
After the disaster, as you try to help your pet “get back to normal” you need to invest in a sturdy harness or leash for your pet to use each time you are outside, as natural scent markers are destroyed by disasters and getting lost is a real possibility.
Also plan to keep your eyes open for hazards that a cat, horse, or gerbil might be able to get into that a human would miss, like low-lying debris or spilled chemicals.