With the mega typhoon that wrecked Southeast Asia earlier this month and all the devastating tornadoes hitting the US Midwest last week, I got to thinking about what our emergency response plan for our pets would be if disaster ever struck us. What would we need to do to ensure not only our own safety but also our pets’? As we know, being prepared in advance is the BEST way to increase your, your family’s, and your pets’ chances of survival and decrease the likelihood of any of you getting separated or lost. So, I’d like to share some tips to help you and all of us who love our pets just as we love any member of our family be prepared and have a pet emergency response plan in advance in case of mishap or disaster.
1. Make them easily identifiable!
Your cats or dogs should always sport visible tags with name and up-to-date contact information. Take this a step further and consider listing an alternative contact on their tags, in case you are unreachable. Your best bet at being reunited with a lost pet is to have them microchipped and make sure the microchip is programmed with your up-to-date contact information. To round out this part of your pet emergency response plan, get a pet alert sticker for a prominent window of your home so that first responders know there is a pet inside that needs to be rescued. If you leave your home with your animals in tow, remember to remove the sticker so that first responders don’t use precious time searching for a pet that isn’t there.
2. Assemble a disaster kit!
Make sure all human members of the family know what they are supposed to take with them in case of an evacuation, such as non-perishables, water, clothing, first aid, medications, important records, etc. Your pets’ kit is also an important part of your
emergency response plan
and should include food and water for each pet for at least five days, all medications and supplements, pet first aid, extra cat litter, trash bags, sturdy carriers, leashes, important pet records, disinfectant or household bleach, paper towels, and toys and treats (to ease stress).
3. Know Where You’ll Go
Know that what’s best for you is typically best for your pets. So, if you evacuate, take your pets with you! Because many places, including Red Cross shelters, don’t allow pets during a disaster, check in advance for accommodations in your area that allow pets during emergency situations. Check with hotels/motels, animal shelters, boarding kennels, and veterinary clinics, and keep a list of a few to which you know you could go. To complete your pet emergency response plan, develop a buddy system with a handful of your friends, neighbors, and relatives to ensure that there will be someone available to care for your pets if you’re unable to or in the event you won’t be able to return to your home for an extended period of time.
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We hope this helps you better incorporate your pets’ needs into your household’s overall
emergency response plan.
~ Duck & Turtle
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