Have you created an emergency plan for you and your family? Did you include your pets? For many of us our pets are important members of the family and they depend on us for their safety and well being. Taking time to create a pet emergency plan and emergency supply kit will help your pet be as safe as possible during emergencies and disasters.
When you develop your pet emergency plan you should plan for two situations; sheltering in place and evacuating.
If you pet is going to shelter in place you will need to provide a safe area free of debris and/or contaminates. You may not be home when the emergency happens. Your pet emergency plan should include a list of nearby family, friends and neighbors that your pet is familiar with (that you trust to have access to your home) so they can check on your pet if you are unable to return home for an extended period of time. An alternative would be to get automatic food and water dispensers to ensure that your pet has a short term supply (that they can’t eat in one sitting) until they are rescued or you return home.
If you are going to evacuate it is very important that you take your pet with you. Your pet emergency plan should include a list of pet friendly places that you can stay such as a relative’s house or pet friendly motels. It is unlikely that pets, except service animals, will be allowed to stay in a human shelter.
Emergency household pet shelters will be set up in a major emergency but he unfamiliar environment could be stressful for your pet. Household pets include dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, rodents or turtles that are traditionally kept in the home for pleasure, not commercial purposes that can travel in commercial carriers and be housed in temporary facilities. Household pets do not include reptiles (except turtles), amphibians, fish, insects/arachnids and farm animals (including horses). If you have an exotic pet then planning before a disaster is even more important.
Whether you choose to shelter in place or evacuate, you will need a basic emergency supply kit for your pet. Many of the basic items for your pet are the same as what is in your kit. A basic pet emergency kit includes the following:
- Food – enough for 5 days. Dry food should be stored in air tight containers and changed every 6 months. Include a small can opener if using canned food.
- Water – enough for 5 days
- Contact information for pet friendly locations and your veterinarian’s office
- Pet first aid with medications / vaccination records
- Waste disposal items – litter box, litter, waste bags, scoop, etc.
- Leashes, harnesses, or collars
- Pictures of you with pet (in case you get separated) keep a copy in your emergency kit as well
- Pet carrier or crate
- An article of clothing with your scent to comfort your pet
Being properly prepared ahead of time with a pet emergency plan and emergency kit will do wonders for your pet’s stress and yours during an emergency.
Please contact our office if you would like a pet emergency plan template and preparedness publications.