What would you do with your pet if you had to evacuate because of a hurricane, devastating fire, or other disasters? What if a disaster occurs while you are away from your pet?
You need one if you don’t already have a pet emergency kit and disaster preparedness plan. It takes work to think about worst-case scenarios. However, having a plan could make all the difference in keeping your pet safe.Here’s how to prepare you and your pet for an emergency.
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Are there natural disasters in your region?
Is your region prone to hurricanes? What about tornadoes, snowstorms or wildfires? Most regions have “native” disasters that occur more frequently than others.
Hurricanes are common on the Gulf Coast, for example, but are unlikely to see the wildfires or earthquakes that are common in California. Identifying the most common natural disasters is a good start.
If you live in an area that gets hit by hurricanes, check your property’s elevation and flood history. It’s also wise to familiarize yourself with local evacuation routes. That way, you can create an effective plan for you and your pet.
Make a pet evacuation plan
Every minute counts during natural disasters, and you need to evacuate. Be sure to include your pet in your evacuation plan, so you know where to go in case of an emergency.
If possible, identify pet-friendly emergency shelters in advance so you can stay together. If there are no shelters, the following options may be available:
- Your veterinarian’s office
- Local animal shelters
- Pet-friendly hotels
- Boarding facilities
- The home of a trusted relative or friend
The most important thing is to have multiple options listed in your pet evacuation plan. This way, you won’t waste time making frantic calls after a disaster strikes.
In addition, having your pet’s medical records on hand is critical, as some pet-friendly emergency centers require proof of vaccinations in order for your pet to stay, “says Purina veterinarian Kurt Venator.
Emergency Evacuate Tips For Pet Owners
If you are required to leave, make every effort to bring your animals with you. However, if you plan on visiting a public shelter, you should be aware that it is possible that animals will not be let inside the building.
Make sure you plan ahead for other forms of shelter that will work for both you and your animals (See Emergency Resource List).
Create a backup emergency plan in the event that you are unable to personally care for your animals. Create a buddy system with your neighbours, friends, and relatives to ensure that there will always be someone ready to care for or evacuate your pets in the event that you are unable to do so yourself.
To make it on your own for at least three days, you will need to be prepared to improvise and make do with what you already have. The experts recommend a lengthier period of preparation, anywhere between five and seven days.
FYI: Where can I go for food and water? The American Red Cross and other volunteer agencies will provide you with food, water, and clothing. Listen to your radio or watch local media for the location of the nearest volunteer agency facility.
Pet Emergency Kit Checklist
Your pet’s emergency kit will depend on whether you have a cat or a dog. However, it may include the following:
- Bottled water
- Food for one to two weeks
- Collapsible food bowls and water dishes
- Cat litter and pan
- Leash, collar and harness
- Pet life jacket and paw protection
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Basic first aid kit for pets
- Vaccination records and medical history
- Contact information of the veterinarian
- List of medications
- Emergency contacts
- Photos of your pet in case of separation
I would also recommends that pets wear a secure collar with up-to-date identification tags in the event of separation. Pet owners may also consider having their pet microchipped to ensure the pet can be identified and located via an electronic device as well.
Keep your pet emergency kit up to date
Once you have a pet emergency plan and kit in place, it’s important to keep the contents up to date. Replace food or water in your pet emergency kit every six months. Write down the date you prepared or checked all food and water containers, so you know when to replace them.
Also, keep all other items in your pet emergency kit up to date, especially emergency contacts and vaccination records.
Purina believes pets and people are better together. By preparing for the worst, you can better ensure that you and your pets stay together, no matter what. For more pet care tips from our experts, visit our pet expert page.
Agencies With Animal Disaster Information:
FEMA WEBSITE: http://www.fema.gov/
FEMA stands for Federal Emergency Management Agency
UNITED ANIMAL NATIONS-Bringing animals out of crisis and into care:
PREPARING YOUR PETS FOR EMERGENCY: http://www.ready.gov/america/getakit/pets.html
Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system: