7 Tips to Keep your pets safe during disaster
Hurricanes … floods … wildfires … mudslides … the evening news reminds us frequently of the possibility of disaster.
You may have a plan for your family in the event of a disaster, but do you have one for your pets?
If not, you need to develop one. Our pets depend on us, so PREPARE:1
- Plan — Plan for two scenarios: one if you are confined to your home for several days and another if you and your pet have to evacuate. Plans should provide for necessary supplies, including food and medications, the safest parts of your home, and escape routes should you need to evacuate.
- Research — Map out alternative evacuation routes in case one or more are impassable. Practice a “dry run” for each route so that you will be able to do it quickly should a disaster occur.
- Equip — Make sure your home and vehicle are stocked with emergency supplies and provisions (see below). Don’t forget permanent identification such as a microchip for pets.Microchipping is one of the best ways to ensure that you and your pets are reunited if you are separated. Be sure to keep the microchip registration up-to-date, and include at least one emergency number of a friend or relative who resides out of your immediate area.
- Practice — Include your pets in practice drills for each type of emergency. Whether “in home” or “on the road,” make it a game for your pets. They, and you, will be more at ease if disaster strikes.
- Add — Subtract and change supplies periodically, particularly medications.
- Review — Your plans regularly. “Safe havens” may change or cease to exist. If friends have volunteered to help, make sure those offers are still viable. Your plans and preparation should be appropriate for various seasons.
- Establish — Establishing an ongoing relationship with local authorities, such as offices of emergency management (OEMs) and dog clubs in your area, may provide a critical support network in challenging times.
Prepare an emergency kit for each animal2
Stock up on the items you may need during a disaster now so you’re not caught unprepared. Below are basic items you should include in your pets’ disaster kits. Store your disaster kit supplies in an easy-to-grab container.
- One-week supply of food. Store it in a water-tight container and rotate it every three months to keep it fresh. If you use canned food, include a manual can opener.
- One-week supply of fresh water. If officials declare your household water unfit to drink, it’s also unsafe for your pets. Follow American Red Cross3 guidelines for storing emergency water for your family and your pets.
- Medication. If your animal takes medication, a replacement supply may not be easily available following a disaster.
- Copies of vaccination records. Take a photo of records and store in your smartphone.
- Photographs of you with your pets to prove ownership.
- Photographs of your pets in case you need to make “lost pet” fliers.
- Pet first aid kit.
- Carrier or leash for each animal.