Planning for Your Pet’s Care in an Emergency
An emergency of any kind turns our whole world upside down. Many of us think about how to prepare ourselves and our homes; perhaps you even run through disaster scenarios in your head on the way to work. But, what about our pets? Whether planning for a hurricane, or needing to quickly evacuate due to a tornado, house fire, or any other kind of disaster, quick action and a set plan will help you through this stressful situation.
Natural disasters are absolutely terrifying. And as scary as they are for us, our pets are just as frightened, with the added turmoil of not understanding what’s happening. If an event requires you to seek shelter within your home, look for areas that can safely accommodate everyone, including your pet(s). Searching for a safe space in the moment will only increase panic and the potential for mistakes. Have a designated location and be sure everyone in your family is clear on the place and process. Decide in advance who is responsible for gathering up the furry family. Also, make sure you have the documents and tools listed below. Pets can easily get lost or separated from their owners in disasters, so having a reliable way to find them is an important part of your disaster plan.
Emergencies in Your Home
If you have to make a quick escape from your home, a crate is the best way to manage the process. During times of stress, this important tool keeps your pet safe, and you organized. You can focus on the task at hand, knowing Fluffy is secure. Be sure the crate is easily accessible (it does you no good in a storage unit in times like this) and kept in the same spot to avoid wasting precious time looking for it in a crisis. Being able to quickly crate your pet and exit your home can save lives. Leashing them opens the door for a possible escape, and can be difficult for pets that are not obedient on a leash or are panicking in the moment. A crate keeps them contained and safe.
How Can I Prepare?
In any unexpected crisis situation, having the proper tools to get your pet to safety is essential. There are several things you can do ahead of time to help ease the stress for you, your family and your pet:
- Identification: Make sure your pet’s name and your contact information is secure on your pet’s collar.
- Microchip: In the event you’re separated from your pet, a microchip can save the day. But…they don’t work unless you register them, so make sure your information is up to date and that you have the microchip company contact information as well.
- Pictures: Have current photos of your pet(s) in case they get lost.
- Vaccines: Make sure they are up to date! Not only is this important for their well-being, but in the event that you have to evacuate, the shelter or temporary housing may require them. Quick tip: Take a picture of their current paperwork and keep it on your phone for easy access.
- Safe Travel: Be ready to jump in your car at a moment’s notice. Have a crate ready to grab and quickly fit into your car. Not only in emergency situations, but if your pet rides in your car often, a carrier of some sort is the safest way to go. Have the information to your local animal shelter and animal emergency hospitals on hand.
- Food: Just like with humans, it’s a good idea to keep a gallon of water along with food and treats in a compact, easily accessible storage bag or container. After a long, stressful day, it’s a horrible feeling to realize you forgot your pet’s essentials!
- Organization: Keep all of your pet paperwork in a joint folder that’s easy to find in an emergency.