Your Pet Preparedness Plan | Times | Bow & Wow

Your Pet Preparedness Plan

In case of emergencies, the same rules that apply to people apply to pets: Preparation makes all the difference, and if it's not safe for you, it's not safe for them.

Here are some tips on how to keep pets safe in natural disasters or everyday emergencies:

1. START GETTING READY NOW

  1. ID your pet - Make sure that your cat or dog is wearing a collar and identification that is up to date and visible at all times. It is also recommended to put your cell phone number on your pet's tag.
  2. Put together a pet emergency kit - Keep your pet’s essential supplies in sturdy containers that can be easily accessed and carried (a duffle bag or covered trash containers, for example). Your pet emergency kit should include:
    1. Food and drinkable water for at least 5 days, bowls and manual can opener.
    2. Medications and medical records (stored in a waterproof container) and a First Aid kit.
    3. Cat litter box, litter, litter scoop and garbage bags to collect all your pets' waste.
    4. Sturdy leashes, harnesses and carriers to transport pets safely and to ensure that your pets can't escape.
    5. Current photos of you with your pets and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them in case you and your pets become separated—and to prove that they are yours once you're reunited.
    6. Written information about your pets' feeding schedules, medical conditions and behavior issues along with the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in foster care.
    7. Keep a list of "pet friendly" places, including phone numbers, with your disaster supplies.
  3. Find a safe place to stay ahead of time 
    1. Contact hotels outside your local area to check their policies on accepting pets and restrictions on number, size and species. Ask if "no pet" policies can be waived in an emergency.
    2. Ask friends, relatives or others outside the affected area whether they could shelter your animals.
    3. Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter animals in an emergency; include 24-hour phone numbers.

2. IF YOU EVACUATE, TAKE YOUR PET

If it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your pets. Even if you think you will only be gone for a few hours, take your pets. You have no way of knowing how long you'll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able—or allowed—to go back for your pets.

Pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Those left inside your home can escape through storm-damaged areas, such as broken windows. And pets turned loose to fend for themselves are likely to become victims of exposure, starvation, predators, contaminated food or water, or accidents. Leaving dogs tied or chained outside in a disaster is a death sentence.

Evacuate early. Don't wait for a mandatory evacuation order. The smell of smoke, high winds or lightening may make your pet more fearful and difficult to load into a crate or carrier. Evacuating before conditions become severe will keep everyone safer and make the process less stressful.

 

3. IF YOU STAY HOME, DO IT SAFELY

If your family and pets must wait out a storm or other disaster at home, identify a safe area of your home where you can all stay together. Make that safe area animal friendly:

  • Close off or eliminate unsafe nooks and crannies where frightened cats may try to hide.
  • Move dangerous items such as tools or toxic products that have been stored in the area.
  • Be sure to close your windows and doors, stay inside, and follow the instructions from your local emergency management office.
  • Bring your pets indoors as soon as local authorities say trouble is on the way. Keep pets under your direct control; if you have to evacuate, you will not have to spend time trying to find them. Keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers, and make sure they are wearing identification.
  • If you have a room you can designate as a "safe room," put your emergency supplies in that room in advance, including your pet's crate and supplies. Have any medications and a supply of pet food and water inside watertight containers, along with your other emergency supplies. If there is an open fireplace, vent, pet door, or similar opening in the house, close it off with plastic sheeting and strong tape.
  • Listen to the radio periodically, and don't come out until you know it's safe.

 

Sources: Redcross.org, Humansociety.org

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