The most important thing you can do to prepare for an emergency is create a disaster plan and practice it regularly. As you create a plan for yourself and your family, don’t forget your pets! The Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center offers these tips to ensure your pets’ safety in the event of an emergency or natural disaster.
- Microchip your dogs and cats, and ensure they are wearing current ID tags at all times.
- Familiarize yourself with pet CPR, resuscitation, and general first aid. If roads are blocked, emergency services may not be available.
- Keep your pets current on vaccines. During a disaster, your pet may get lost or may be housed in a shelter with other animals, thereby potentially being exposed to infectious diseases.
- Entrust a neighbor or friend to get your pets to safety, in case you are at work when a disaster strikes, and make a back-up plan to board your animal during a disaster (veterinarian, boarding facility, etc.).
- Display a Pet Alert sign in doors and windows, so responders know there are animals on the premises.
MAKE A PLAN
In addition to the food, water, and supplies you need for the people in your family, make sure to include the following items for your pets in your disaster kit.
- Current photos of your pets, copies of vaccination records & veterinarian’s contact info.
- Collars, leashes & carriers for your pets.
- A minimum of three weeks’ supply of pet food & bottled water (plus bowls & can openers).
- Treats, toys, blankets & towels.
- Pet First Aid Kit (should include: pet first aid book, antiseptic, topical ointment, dressing and any prescribed pet medications).
- Soft muzzle (some government evacuation vehicles/facilities may require for all dogs).
- Waste removal system: disposable baggies for dogs and/or cat litter, scooper & temporary litter box (like a disposable aluminum foil pan) for cats.
- Animal Evacuated sign (to alert responders that your animals are safely evacuated)
DURING THE DISASTER
- Try to stay calm. If you display anxiety and stress, your pet will detect it. This could trigger aggressive behaviors or a flight response.
- Continuously check pet structures and favorite hiding places for hazardous debris.
- Alert local shelters immediately if your pet becomes lost.
- Display your “Animal Evacuated” sign if you evacuate with your pet, so that emergency teams can respond where assistance is actually needed.