National Disaster Preparedness Month: How To Create an Emergency Plan for Your Pets!
Fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, violent storms, and other natural disasters are some of the more common things that we prepare for. It may be beneficial to include parameters around how to handle our pets during those times. Pets being left behind during a disaster are likely to be injured, lost, or worse.
Before a disaster strikes, please consider doing these things preemptively:
- Make sure your pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date contact information and other identification.
- Microchip your pets – this is one of the best ways to ensure that you and your pet are reunited if you are separated.
- Keep a leash/carrier near the exit.
- Make sure you have proper equipment for pets to ride in the car (carriers, harnesses, pet seat belts).
Additionally, you should plan ahead. Some things to figure out before a disaster are:
Where you and your pet will stay in case of a disaster. Shelters and hotels will often not allow pets unless they are service animals. Disaster evacuation centers will often not allow pets either. Identify friends or family out of town that will be able to house you and your pet. Also, boarding facilities and animal hospitals may be a place to house your pet while you stay elsewhere.
You could also benefit from creating an emergency kit for your pet ahead of time. These kits could include:
- A pet carrier for each of your pets (write your pet’s name, your name, and contact information on each carrier).
- Food and water for at least 2 weeks for each pet
- For cats: litter box and litter
- For dogs: plastic bags for waste
- Medications for at least 2 weeks
- Medical records, including record of vaccination for rabies and other diseases, prescription medications, and medical history.
- Sturdy leashes or harnesses
- Microchip number
- Contact information (cell phone, work phone, home phone) of owner and close relative or friends
One thing that many experts have suggested that is what is good for us are good for our pets. Ideally, we would love to take our pets with us but that may not be possible in an emergency, but we should make every best effort to make sure our pets are in a safe place with their basic needs met.