5 Ways to Prep Your Pet for Emergencies
Get Your Pet Micro-Chipped
It is relatively inexpensive to have a veterinarian implant a microchip that contains the owner's contact information. Owners can be located if a shelter or veterinary clinic scans the chip. Finding a lost pet that hasn't been micro-chipped can be extremely difficult and many times impossible. If your pet is already micro-chipped, make sure the registration information is up to date so you can be contacted if your pet is found.
Prepare a Disaster Kit
Along with your family's emergency kit, prepare one for your pet ahead of time. Include everything your pet will need, from food and water, prescriptions, to leashes and bedding. Although this may mean purchasing twice as much stuff, it will be faster and easier to gather your pet's items if you have them all together and ready for an emergency.
Plan Where Your Pet Will Stay if You Have to Evacuate
Pets are often not allowed in evacuation centers unless they are service animals. You can ask out-of-town friends or relatives about keeping your pet in an emergency ahead of time, or you can check a website that lists pet-friendly hotels, so you have some locations ready to book.
Use a Buddy System
Have a buddy system with friends, family, and neighbors in case you're not home during an emergency. Have a trusted person you can call to check on pets and evacuate them if necessary. Having a kit ready to go will make it easier for them if you are not there.
Practice Evacuating or Sheltering in Place With Your Pet
This will help familiarize your pet with the process so that when the time comes, it won't be scary for them. Training pets to be in their carrier can make them more comfortable and reduce the stress of getting everyone out safely. Know exactly how and where you will place your pet's carrier and supplies in a vehicle.
Sheltering in Place
- Pick a room with few or no windows, no toxic chemicals or plants, and make sure to close off small areas where frightened pets could get stuck.
- Include your pet in the family's plan. Everyone should know who will grab the pet(s), supplies, and where you will meet during an emergency.
Tips for Large Animals
- Ensure all animals have some form of identification.
- Evacuate animals whenever possible. Map out primary and secondary routes in advance.
- Make available vehicles and trailers needed for transporting and supporting each type of animal. Also, make available experienced handlers and drivers.
- Ensure destinations have food, water, veterinary care, and handling equipment.
Build a Kit
- Food - At least a three-day supply in an airtight container, waterproof container.
- Water - At least a three-day supply specifically for your pets.
- Medicines and medical records - Keep an extra supply of the medications your pet takes on a daily basis and store them in an air-tight container.
- First aid kit - Talk with your veterinarian about what is most appropriate for your pet's emergency medical needs. Include a pet first aid reference book.
- Collar or harness with ID tags, rabies tag, and a leash.
- Crate or pet carrier which is large enough for your pet to stand in and turn around.
- Chlorine bleach
- Paper towels
- Pet litter and litter box
- Plastic trash bags
- A picture of you with your pet - This will help you document ownership and allow others to identify by including any distinguishing characteristics.