Any number of emergencies can occur at any minute, from a car wreck to a natural disaster, to a house fire. It is always the best policy to be prepared in these situations, and that means considering what your pets need to survive an emergency as well. Since September is National Disaster Preparedness Month, you should take this time to review your family’s emergency plan and make sure that your pets are included as well!
In the event of an emergency, you must consider that you could be gone from your home for anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. You could also potentially face a permanent evacuation, which happened to many families and their pets during Hurricane Katrina. Other types of emergencies or disasters may trap you at home for an unknown length of time. In any of these cases, find out how to be prepared:
1. Identify Pets
We all know how important it is to make sure our pets have a well-fitting collar, ID tag, and are microchipped, but I’m going to repeat it. You should make sure that these things are always on your dog or cat and always up to date. The chances of your pet becoming lost and scared in an emergency are higher than in normal circumstances, so take these steps to make sure that your pet can be returned to you if he is found! Check out this blog about preventing lost pets and this one about what to do if you find one!
You should also put a sticker on your front door so emergency workers know that there are pets in the house. This sticker should have the number and types of pets you have inside your home and their emergency contact numbers. If you must evacuate your home, take your pets with you and write “EVACUATED” on your front door sticker.
You should also keep recent photos of your pets, which should be pretty easy these days will smart phones.
2. Emergency Contact List
In the case of an emergency, having a contact list already prepared will make your plan much more effective and less stressful. Your list should include: your regular vet; an emergency or 24/7 vet in your area and in your predetermined evacuation destination; kennels, shelters and dog sitters in your area and evacuation destination that will help house pets in an emergency; hotels that are pet-friendly; and friends and family who can help with your pets if needed.
Give your house key to a trusted someone who lives nearby in case they need to evacuate your pets if you can’t get to them.
Remember, if it isn’t safe at home and you must evacuate, then that means your pets should go with you because it’s not safe for them either!
3. Grab and Go Bag
If the disaster you are facing causes you to evacuate your house, such as for flooding or wildfires-then you need to be prepared with a bag packed for your family and for your pets. This bag should stay in your garage or near your door so you can grab it and go quickly. You also need to make sure that your grab and go bag is always up to date with current medical information, phone numbers, and addresses. All food and medicine you have in the grab and go bag should be rotated regularly to prevent spoiling.
Your pet’s bag should include: a first aid kit, a week or more of food and bottled water for every pet, water and food bowls, leashes, a traveling crate, a litter pan and litter, medications, a flashlight, a blanket and pillowcase (to transport angry cats with claws), a can opener, trash bags, and paper towels. You can also include some toys and chews. Check out this blog on pet first-aid, and this one on pet CPR so you can be prepared!
You should also have a predetermined destination in case of evacuation. Get this bag packed and your evacuation destination figured out this month. You will feel a sense of relief and preparedness when it’s done, I promise!
4. Quarantine Preparation
There may be circumstances or emergencies when you are stuck inside your house for an unknown length of time as well. I have recently seen cities on lock-down in the news when dangerous criminals were on a rampage. You could also end up snowed in or quarantined due to some very contagious disease.
There are some special considerations for being stuck at home. If you should not be going outside for some reason (a contaminant, for instance), then your pets shouldn’t either! You may want to keep some potty training pads at your house for this scenario. In this case, your grab and go bag will still come in very handy! You should have food, water, and first aid materials inside and it should be in your house, packed and ready to go.
There may also be circumstances when you are stuck at home and may lose access to city water. If you think this is at risk of occurring, then fill all of the bathtubs, sinks, and large containers in your home with water immediately so you have a reservoir to fall back on.
In case of a tornado, you should bring your pets into the bathroom or basement with you as well to keep them safe!
What have you done to prepare your pets for an emergency? Let me know in the comment section below!