In support of National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day on May 13th we compiled the below tips to help you and your pet be much more prepared in case a disaster hits. When an emergency strikes, pets depend on their pet parents to protect them and prepare them for disasters, including having enough food, water, supplies, and moving them out of the house quickly/safely if needed. The situation can be stressful and scary for everyone, but with these tips you can have a disaster plan in place that ensures you and your pets are healthy and safe.
How would you care for your pet in a fire, flood, tornado, blizzard, or other unpredictable event?
If you are like many pet owners, you have not given this question much thought. We encourage you to consider preparing a disaster kit for your pet, so that you can confidently know what to do when faced with severe weather or any another type of emergency.
What to Include in a Disaster Kit for Your Pet
When a disaster strikes, knowing that you have a kit prepared and stored in a safe place can help you keep calm and ready to handle whatever happens. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the kit should include the following:
- Written details about each pet in the event you become separated - Your notes should include your contact details, any behavior issues, feeding and care instructions, and how to contact your pet’s regular veterinarian.
- Water and food for each pet to last for up to two weeks. Be sure to place the food in an airtight container, so it does not spoil and pack a can opener or scoop if you need them to feed your pet. Water should go in an airtight container and be replaced periodically with a fresh supply.
- Bags for dog waste and a litter box for cats.
- Cleaning supplies if your pet eliminates inappropriately.
- Up-to-date medical records.
- Two weeks’ worth of any prescription medications.
- Grooming supplies.
- Harness, leash, and/or pet carrier.
- Toys and pet beds.
Best Practices for Creating Your Pet’s Disaster Plan
It is essential that your dog, cat, or other pet's identification information is current especially during the chaos of a sudden emergency. If your pet has a microchip, make sure that you update your contact details any time you move or change your telephone number or email address. Additionally, ensure each pet has an individual carrier with your name and the pet’s name written on it clearly. You may want to consider placing your pet in the carrier and going for a car ride for practice if they do not ride in the car often.
Another recommendation from the CDC is to place a harness or leash near every exit in your home. It may be difficult to hold a pet who is highly stressed, which increases the likelihood of him running off. By having a leash or harness available, you can safely remove your pet from the situation as quickly as possible.
Determine where you will evacuate in all areas of your house, before an emergency or disaster occurs. If the situation does not call for you to leave your home, choose one room in your house to wait it out with your pet. Just make sure there are no plants, chemicals, or other things in the room that your pet could get into during the event. It is also helpful to prepare a list of pet-friendly hotels, boarding facilities, veterinary hospitals, and shelters just in case you do need to evacuate.
Contact your veterinarian today for more information about preparing your pet for future disasters or emergencies.