IN CASE OF EMERGENCY: Are Your Pets Prepared for a Disaster?
If there is an emergency, will your pets be taken care of? Do you have the proper equipment to take care of them? If you are evacuated, where will they go? It's important to consider these things before an emergency happens.
For this post, I will focus mainly on dogs and cats, although often the same is true for any pet. In any case, you should learn how prepare for them in case of an emergency. Here are some things you can do.
Get a rescue sticker
A rescue sticker is a sticker that you apply to a front door or window that indicates the presence of pets in your home. This sticker needs to be placed in a visible area. Information on this sticker includes the number of pets, your contact information, and your vet's contact information. If you are able to take your pets with you, write "EVACUATED" on the sticker. To find a sticker, check your local pet store or go to ASPCA to get one for free.
Arrange for your pets to go to a safe place
Your main goal should be to NEVER leave your pets behind. If you're in danger, your pets are probably in danger, too. Unfortunately, not all Red Cross shelters allow pets, so look into an alternative safe place to bring your pets to.
- Some hotels are pet-friendly.
- Ask a relative or friend to provide a safe place for you and your pets. It's good to have as many as three people just in case.
- Give someone a key to your house for emergency situations. This should, of course, be someone you trust.
- Call boarding facilities and check out their emergency procedures in regard to pets.
- Contact your local humane society or animal shelter and see if they are equipped to take pets for disaster emergencies.
Remember, before an emergency you must know where your pets will go, what it will cost, and how long they may be there.
Use a pet emergency supply kit
When it comes to disasters, we have been educated to make sure we humans are prepared, but do we ever really think about our pets and what their needs would be during a time like this?
Prepare a supply kit that can be grabbed within a moment's notice. I suggest keeping everything in a sealable bin in a location that is easy to reach. Here are items that you should include in your kit.
- First aid kit. This should contain the medical basics. Check with your vet to determine what you should have depending on your pet.
- Pet carrier. This will allow you to transport your pet more easily. Make sure to have one for each pet.
- Food. Aim for about two weeks worth. Rotate this food out every few months to keep a fresh supply available.
- Water. Again, this should be about a two week supply. And, like the food, you ought to change it every couple of months.
- Waste containers. Have litter pans for your cats and poop bags for your dogs.
- Disinfectant. This is for cleaning pet carriers and other items. Dish soap works great for this.
- Food Dishes
- Extra Collars, Leashes and Tags. Make sure the tags have your current information on them. You may also consider having a microchip put in your pet so they can be tracked.
- Medical information. Keep this in a binder, and don't forget to include proof of vaccination, certifications, and any other information.
- Medicine. Like the food and water, keep a two week supply, and remember to replace it if it expires. You should keep all medicine in separate sealable bags with the dosages clearly written on a sticker placed inside the bag.
- Photos of your pets
- For cats: make sure to include a pillowcase, toys, a litter scoop, and bags.
- For dogs: include toys, bags, and treats.
Disasters can happen at any time, and when they happen we need to make sure our pets are taken care of. Remember to have your emergency supply kit and safe places to bring your pets during an emergency. Disasters are unfortunate, but they can be worse if we are unprepared to take care of our pets in emergencies.