Disaster Preparedness For Your Pets


Are you ready to care for your pet when disaster strikes?


We see it all the time—someone loses their home in a windstorm or tornado, another in a flood and still another in an earthquake.  But what about the pets?  Though the rare story comes out about this type of tragedy, pets are often the forgotten victims.  What can you do?  Take the following 7 steps to create a disaster preparedness plan for your pets.


Don't forget to include medications in your emergency preparedness kit.

Keep all your pet's medications current and include the daily ones in your emergency pet kit.

(1) Prepare An Emergency Pet Kit—Just as it’s a good idea to have your own kit in an emergency, if you have a pet, it can save critical time not to mention the life or your pet by planning ahead.  Your emergency pet kit should include at least 3 days supplies of pet food and water, and any medications your pet will need.  By the way, the medications should be placed in a watertight container.  Plus, if your pet takes several prescriptions it may be worth the effort to make copies and include those, too.  Also, include basic first aid supplies, like cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape, latex gloves, rubbing alcohol and saline solution.  And don’t forget a pet first aid guide—check with your vet if you can’t find one.


(2) Keep A Current Picture Of You And Your Pet—A picture may be helpful in locating your pet, plus it’s a way to prove ownership.  Keep the picture with the other emergency supplies.


Dusty has several favorite toys that might do in a pinch.

Include a favorite toy as you consider emergency pet supplies.

(3) Gather Some Familiar Items—Rotate a few familiar items in and out of your emergency kit.  Blankets or items with a familiar scent, a favorite toy, and special treats will go a long way to reassure your pet in an emergency.


(4) Keep ID And Medical Tags Up To Date—Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are current and that your pet wears the medical tags to show it.  Also, consider including a second phone number on an ID tag—such as a close relative who lives out of the area.  You might also consider a microchip implant for your pet if they don’t have one.  That way, your pet can still be identified if he or she loses their collar.


Is your pet's license current?

Have you checked your pet's identity tags recently?

(5) Designate An Emergency Pet Shelter—Rather than leave it to chance, locate a “pet-friendly” shelter ahead of time.  For example, some motels or hotels allow pets and others don’t.  Or, contact friends who have pets  and pre-arrange to trade safe shelter for your pets if either of you loses your home.  Remember, pets are often upset by emergency conditions so keep them inside or leashed when possible.  You might also get a pet carrier in case you need to transport your pet.  You can sometimes find these at bargain prices at garage sales.



(6) Stay With Your Pet—Where possible keep your pet with you after an emergency has struck—even if you think it will only be for a short span of time.  Some pets have been known to break out of broken windows or cracks in damaged homes.  A pet may flee in fear and risk injury, starvation or worse.  If you’re on good terms with a neighbor, arrange to have them check on and retrieve a pet if you are far from the home when disaster hits.  Also, arrange for a predetermined pick up location where the two of you may meet.


(7) Sanitation—Think ahead with regards to the sanitary needs of your pet.  Will you need kitty litter or newspapers if you are forced out of your home?  Do you have bags to pick up pet waste?  Are there supplies to clean up with including hand wipes, rags, gloves, or chlorine bleach?


If you want more detailed information on this topic check out this page on the government’s Homeland Security website.


If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to see:
The Earthquake Quiz: How Ready Are You?


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