While many of our readers have an emergency disaster kit in their home, I was surprised to learn how few of them had put plans in place for their pets.
The tips that we will be sharing today will show you how you can keep your pet safe during a natural disaster. You’ll also learn how to prepare a complete pet emergency kit.
Identify Likely Disasters
The first step in keeping your pets safe is to do a little bit of research to identify what disasters are more likely to occur in your area. Is it flooding? Tornadoes? Wildfires?
Every country and region has certain disasters that occur more frequently than others.
By taking the time to understand the likely dangers, you will have a good starting point for your pet disaster preparedness.
If a major disaster calls for an evacuation, you need to have plans in place that include what happens to your pet.
This plan should include any safe places where you might take them in an emergency situation such as:
- Veterinarian’s office
- Animal shelters
- Pet-friendly hotels/motels
- Boarding facilities
- Relative’s house
It is also important that you have your pet’s medical records on hand since some pet-friendly emergency relief centers require proof of vaccinations in order for your pet to stay there.
Affix a pet evacuation sticker on your front door or on the front door of your refrigerator indicating the number of pets residing in your household and an emergency contact number in case the animals must be removed without your knowledge. Without this, rescuers may not be aware that there are animals in the home, particularly in the case of cats that may hide when frightened.
Pet Emergency Kit
Just like each family member needs their own emergency kit, so does each of your pets. These should include the following items:
- Bottled Water
- 1–2 weeks’ worth of food
- Collapsible Bowls
- Cat Litter & Pan
- Leash & Collar
- Life Jacket & Paw Protectors
- Basic Pet First-Aid Kit
- Vaccine Records/Medical History
- Veterinary Contact Information
- Medications List
- Emergency Contacts
- Photos of Your Pet (in case you are separated from your pet)
Pet owners can also consider having their pet microchipped to assure that the pet can be identified and found via an electronic device as well should they become separated from their owner.
It is not possible to know exactly when the next major disaster will strike and as such, you can’t guarantee that you will be with your pet when it happens.
Because of this, you need to create what is known as a buddy system. Choose a trusted neighbor, family member or friend who’s willing to check in on your pet if you are away.
You should also add this caregiver to your emergency contact list as someone who’s authorized to approve necessary emergency treatments if you can’t be reached.
This trusted friend should also be made fully aware as to where your pet’s emergency kit is in case of an emergency.
All pet’s should have either collars or microchips that can make them easily identifiable. Collars should clearly show your name, telephone number and an emergency contact.
Microchips are a more secure option as collars can easily become lost and with a simple scan, a pet can be identified. Since animals may escape during disasters, permanent identification will increase your chances of retrieving your pet(s).
Finding a Lost Pet
Finally we want to look at locating a missing pet. You need to take the time to learn where your local animal shelters and rescue organizations are. If your pet goes missing, these should be the first place that you look and you should do so as soon as you know that the pet is missing.
Have several pictures of your pets and keep them with you at all times. You will need them in the event that you become separated from your pets and need to identify them. Similarly, be ready to describe any distinguishing markings or characteristics of your pets.