September is National Disaster Preparedness Month, and in light of recent events, it’s the perfect time to think about what you would do with your pets in case of an emergency. Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about hurricanes (the trade-off for six months of winter?) but we do need to consider tornadoes, flooding, and snowstorms.
Your best bet for handling any emergency that comes your way is to have a plan in place before you need it. You’ll have enough things to worry about and will likely forget something important. Risking your life or the life of a first responder to save your pets is not an acceptable option.
If I’m unable to get to my home, is there a neighbor who could? A local emergency contact is a must.
Does my pet’s microchip account contain accurate and up-to-date information? If it’s been awhile since you’ve updated it, don’t wait!
Under what circumstances would I evacuate or choose to shelter at home?
What emergency shelters or hotels will accept animals in case of an evacuation? Contact animal shelters, veterinary clinics, boarding facilities, and friends/family along your planned route. Hotels and shelters are not required to take animals in a state of emergency.
Next, create a Preparedness Kit. Suggested items include:
- At least five days’ worth of food for your pet in waterproof, airtight containers
- Water and bowls
- 4-6’ static leash (no flexis)
- Secure collar with up-to-date ID tags
- Physical photo and copy of vaccine records (Rabies is most important.)
- Medications in their original bottles
- Carrier or crate (fabric or folding for ease of transportation)
- Waste bags or litter box and litter
- Permanent marker (for writing your contact info on the carrier or even the pet itself)
- Comfort items for your pet (bed, blanket, toys, etc.)
Having a handout prepared can help reunite you with your pet more quickly in the event you become separated. Laminating it and putting it in your Preparedness Kit is a great idea. The more contact information, the better. Technology can fail in a catastrophe — you may not be able to use your phone to ID your pet or contact someone.
Keep in mind that you and your pet will be under an enormous amount of stress. He will likely not behave in his usual way, and may be more prone to injure you and others. It will be best to contain or confine animals so they don’t attempt to escape, or bite someone, or worse.
By preparing for the worst-case scenario ahead of time, you’ll greatly increase the chances that your pet will not suffer any serious consequences. Don’t wait until it’s too late!
Tell us, do you have an emergency plan and a kit put together for your pets? What’s in it? Comment below!