How Should I Prepare my Pet for Emergencies?
Unfortunately, no part of the world is completely immune from the wrath of Mother Nature and when she gets her panties in a twist, all hell can break loose. Whether it is a forest fire, a flood, an earthquake or something else entirely, there are many different crisis scenarios that can arise that can put lives – both human and animal - on the line.
Emergencies often arise when we least expect them but managing to remain calm and knowing what to do when disaster strikes can make all the difference to keeping yourself, your family and your pets safe from harm. An increasing number of U.S. towns and cities now understand the importance of disaster-preparedness and are taking steps to ensure that plans and protocols are in place to ensure the safety of as many people as possible.
Nevertheless, as a loving and responsible pet owner, it is probably not just the human members of your family you will be concerned about if an emergency situation arose. Leaving pets out of your evacuation plans could put not only your animal, but other people living in your home and even first responders in danger. Therefore, preparing your pet for an emergency should be a priority when you first become her owner.
Here are our top tips for pet owners to prepare for an emergency situation.
Create an emergency contact list
It is crucial to know who you are going to call in an emergency and ensure that they have access to your home to evacuate your pet if you can’t. Whoever is on your list, run through your emergency plan with them so that they know where to find your pet and her supplies, and where they are going to meet you to hand her across to you. In some circumstances, it may not be possible to meet your emergency contacts straight away, and so you should ensure you pick someone who can and is happy to care for your pet until you can.
Get your pet’s ID up to date
Many animals become lost during a disaster, but if your pet is microchipped and your details are up to date, the likelihood that she will be returned to you is much higher. In addition to a microchip, it is still handy to have your contact information on a tag on her collar, as it may not be possible for whoever finds her to get to a vet in an emergency situation.
Get her supplies ready
Food and water is just as important for your pet, so fill up a backpack with enough of her usual food and enough water to sustain her for at least two weeks. This can easily be grabbed in an evacuation, and you won’t have to panic about finding appropriate pet food in a hurry.
In addition to her food and water, there are a number of other supplies that you will need, including:
- Any medication she is on
- Bowls for food and water (the fold-flat variety are ideal)
- Bathroom supplies (poop bags, litter box etc)
- Medical records including certificates of vaccination as these may be needed if your pet has to go into a boarding facility
- Spare leash/harness
- Carrier complete with blankets
- Her favorite toy
It can also be very useful to have a handout with important information about your pet should she need to go into boarding until accommodation with you can be sorted out, as well as details of her microchip number, and a current photograph of her should you become separated and need to find her.
Plan where you are going to go
Unfortunately, not all types of emergency accommodation will accept all types of pet, so it is important that you know what your options are in regard to shelter. Speak to your local emergency management office and ask if there is accommodation for pets and their owners. If necessary, also speak to our veterinarian to find out where local animal shelters are that may be able to take your pet in an emergency.
It can also be useful to consider friends and family living outside the evacuation zone and seeing if they would be able to accommodate you and your pet should an emergency scenario arise.
For further support on preparing your pet for an emergency situation, please speak to our veterinarian.