For many, pets are a part of the family, which means they need to be considered when creating an emergency preparedness plan. Emergencies can strike when we least expect it, and you may only have minutes to make decisions and take action. Planning and preparing will ensure your pet has the best chance of survival during a disaster.
Pack an Animal Emergency Supply Kit
When packing an emergency supply kit for yourself or family, make sure to include a few crucial items for your pet. Keep survival basics in mind and make sure there’s enough to last 3 or more days.
- Clean water
- Canned dog or cat food & can opener (if required)
- Feeding bowls
- Harness and leash
- A collapsible pet carrier, especially if your pet is small and/or excitable
- Sanitary supplies like pee pads, litter box, newspaper, plastic bags and disinfectant
- Pet’s medical records & prescription medicine (if applicable)
It is a best practice to create two different pet emergency kits – one for home and one for evacuation.
Identify a Pet Friendly Safe Haven
If you’re staying in your home...
- Bring your pets inside ASAP
- Find a protected area in the home that’s big enough for you and your pet
- Keep newspapers and pee pads in good supply
- Feed your pets canned food so they need less water
If you’re evacuating...
Contact your local pet shelter or animal control office for information on pet friendly evacuation centers and other options for you and your pets during an emergency. Other options include:
- Staying with friends or relatives
- Nearby hotels/motels that are pet friendly
- Pet boarding facilities both local and in nearby cities
- Veterinary clinics
- Animal shelters – Use this as a last resort if none of the options above are viable as shelters can harbor disease.
- If you have large animals, such as a horse, ensure that you have proper transportation lined up and easily at your disposal.
No matter what never leave your pets home alone if you evacuate unless your life is immediately at stake. It may be days or even weeks before you are able to return home, and pets are unlikely to survive on their own for that long.
If you feel it’s absolutely necessary to leave your pet behind, leave them loose inside with a good supply of food and water. Also leave the bathroom door open with the toilet seat up and the tank lid off in case their water supply runs out. Leave a note in a visible place that explains there are animals inside the home and how to contact you.
If you are not at home during a disaster...
- Put up a rescue alert sticker before hand – it will let rescue workers know there are pets inside the home.
- Use the buddy system – find a friend, relative or neighbor that you can entrust with caring for your pet during an emergency if you’re unable to do so. They’ll need to know where the pet emergency supply kit is, where to meet you if you evacuate and how to access to your home.
Make Sure Your Pet’s Identification is Up-to-Date
It’s easy to get separated from your pet during a disaster or emergency. There are steps you can take beforehand that increase the odds of reuniting with your pet if that happens.
- Collars with up-to-date identification attached - consider adding the number of a friend or family member that lives outside your immediate area in case they can’t get through to you.
- Shots – your pet’s collar should also have tags that show your pet is up-to-date on all their shots.
- Micro-chipping – if your pet’s collar comes off shelters and clinics can still get your contact information if the animal is chipped.
- Current photo – it will help others ID your pet when you come looking for it.
Your pet can get lost or hurt at any time. The suggestions above are good advice in general that can help you keep your pet safe whether or not a disaster strikes.
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My Patriot Supply offers a wide range of emergency preparedness supplies and tools. Their Survival Seed Vault is the best selling collection of authentic heirloom seeds in North America.