Emergency Preparedness For Pets

Natural Disasters  can come at any time and can come in many forms. In the lower mainland we need to be aware of the potential for earthquakes and there has been a number of articles recently in the news about being prepared for an emergency and having an emergency kit ready to help you survive the first few days. If you have pets, it is important that your preparations also include them.  Emergencies may require anything from a brief absence from your home to permanent evacuation. Each type of disaster will require different measures to keep your pets safe so the best thing you can do is to be prepared.

One of the first steps you can take is to get a rescue alert sticker to put by your front door. This will let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible and that it includes the types and number of pets in your home. Other helpful information can include the name and phone number of your veterinarian.

Make sure your pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification information. Your pet’s ID tag should contain his name, telephone number and any urgent medical needs. Be sure to also write your pet’s name, your name and contact information on your pet’s carrier.

Always bring your pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pets can become frightened or disoriented and may wander away from home in a crisis.

Make an emergency kit for both you and your pets and store it and extra leashes or carriers near the exit. Make sure everyone in the family knows where it is. This emergency pack should be clearly labelled and easy to carry in case you need to evacuate.

Some items to include in the pack:

Water – Ideally you should have a 7 days supply of water for both you and your pets. This is one of the most important items.

Food – you should have at least 3 days supply of either canned or dry food available. Make sure you rotate the dry food so that it does not become spoiled and make sure you have a can opener if your canned food does not have a pop top.

Bowls/ Food dishes

Leash/ Harness/ Carriers

Medical Records. It is helpful to have a copy of your pet’s medical records if your pet has a health concern. If your pet requires medication, make sure you have a 2 week supply available in a waterproof container. Rotate this medication regularly so that it does not become outdated.

Comforting items – Blankets and toys can help keep your pet calm in a strange surrounding. Disposable litter trays for cats (aluminum roasting pans are perfect) and litter or paper towel are useful. Flashlights, plastic bags for cleanup and baby wipes or disinfectants  can also be very helpful.

If possible, arrange a safe haven for you and your pets. Ask friends and relatives outside yur immediate area if they would be willing to take in your pet. Find out if there is an emergency shelter for pets in your area or find hotels or motels outside your immediate are that accept pets.

By being prepared, you give yourself and your pets the best chance for reducing the stress and trauma of living through a disaster.