We all love our pets and consider them a part of our family. Unfortunately pet’s can’t prepare for themselves and depend on us to take care of them. That’s why it’s our responsibility as pet owners to prepare for them. Let’s not forget about them! Read more on emergency preparation for pets.
ID Your Pet
Make sure your cats and dogs have collars with proper identification tags. In the event your pet gets frightened and runs away your chance of being reunited are higher if people know who’s pet they are. There are alternative ways of identification like an implanted microchip which help veterinarians and clinics use a scanner that displays information about your pet on the screen.
Keep in mind that a collar is the best way as most people will not have a scanner to help identify the pet but will be able to quickly read the collar information to contact you. You can always use the microchip option as a backup in the even that your pet isn’t wearing the collar at the time or in the event it falls off.
Know a Safe Place For Your Pets
Even though we consider pets as family and wouldn’t leave them behind, most disaster shelters do not allow pets due to local and state health and safety regulations unless they are service animals. Therefore, it’s important to know where you can bring your pets in the event a disaster strikes.
- Call your local office of emergency management to see if they will allow pets in advance before a disaster
- Ask friends for relatives outside the affected area to see if they would shelter your pets temporarily.
- Contact hotels to see if they allow pets. If not, ask them whether they can waive the policy in an emergency situation.
- List veterinarians and boarding facilities who would shelter your pet during an emergency
- Contact an animal shelter. Some places may be able to help during an emergency
Prepare a Pet Emergency Kit
Just like how you should prepare an emergency kit for yourselves, you should also prepare on specifically for your pet as they have different needs. Here are some things your pet emergency kit should have:
- Pet First Aid Kit
- Pet First Aid Book – Know techniques and what to do in an emergency
- Medical records and any medications
- Extra Leash/harness/carrier to prevent them from running away (they’ll be frightened just like you during a disaster)
- Current photos of your pets in case they get lost and need to be identified
- Food and water along with a bowl and manual can opener
- Treats or toys to keep your pet occupied and to help calm them down
- Disposable litter trays
- Litter or paper toweling
- Liquid soap and disinfectant
Identify That You Have Pets in Your House
You may not be home when a disaster strikes and might not be able to return home to retrieve your pets right away. The ASPCA provides Rescue Alert Stickers which you put somewhere visible like your front door that helps identify that there are pets inside the home. Rescue workers would see the sticker and know that there may be animals inside that need rescuing.
If you happen to be home during the disaster and are able to evacuate with your pets, make sure you write “EVACUATED” across the sticker so rescue workers will know they won’t have to check the house and can move on to the next rescue.
Get the ASPCA App
The ASPCA App is a free mobile app that teaches you exactly what to do in the event of a natural disaster. It also allows you to store vital information such as medical records for your pets. Some features are:
- Access critical advice on what to do with your pet before, during, and after a disaster
- Store and manage your pet’s health records
- Receive a personalized missing pet recovery kit, including step-by-step instructions on how to search for a lost animal in different situations
- Build a lost pet digital flyer that can be shared instantly via social media
- Receive the latest and most relevant news about pets and animal welfare
If Evacuating Never Leave Your Pets Behind!
While you are away you never know what might happen to your home plus you might not be able to return for a few days or even weeks. Your pet may become malnourished or dehydrated or injured by collapsing walls. They will be very stressed and may try to escape and become lost. How would you feel if you were abandoned? Don’t do this to your pet unless you ABSOLUTELY have no choice.
If Authorities Force You to Leave Your Animals Behind
Sometimes authorities just don’t have enough resources and you are instructed to leave them behind. This can be extremely emotional and heartbreaking. Try to do as much as you can to keep the animal comfortable and alive until you get a chance to be reunited.
Never leave your animals loose outdoors. You may think they’re better off free but they are domesticated and rely on you for many things. They won’t know how to look after themselves and may face even more dangers outside. Instead leave them in a secure area inside the house but give them access upstairs just in case they need to escape floodwaters.
Leave at least 10 days worth of food and water . Fill as many containers with water and leave them on the floor. Remember, while you’re gone the containers may tip and the water spilled so fill as many containers as you can. As a last resort you can also leave the toilet seat up as a source of water but make sure there are no chemical disinfectants in it. For food, use dry food. Canned food may spoil quickly so dry food is the best option.
Pets are our family and should be treated as such. We love them and they love us back unconditionally. Make sure you are prepared for them in the event of an emergency because they look up to you to protect them as they are unable to prepare themselves. Hopefully you’ve learned something and will take the steps today to get prepared. No one wants to lose their pets so let’s do our best to keep them safe.