We often talk about having a plan for ourselves and our family in the case of a disaster, but there’s one family member who is often overlooked. Do you have a disaster plan for your pets? Whether a disaster calls for evacuation or sheltering in place pets will need to be taken care of just like humans.
Before a disaster, create a 72-hour preparedness kit for your pet. Make sure they have extra food, water medications and toys in case you are unable to get to a store or are forced to evacuate on short notice. Have a copy of your pet’s vaccination records as you will need these when placing your pet in a shelter.
If you need to evacuate, make sure that you take your pets and their supplies with you. This is critical because one of the reasons people are most likely to return to danger zones is to save their pets. Most general population shelters will not allow pets who are not service animals. Local emergency management makes every effort to have a pet shelter located near to the general population shelter, but it is a good idea to have a list of places your pet could go in a disaster – just in case.
Make sure your pets are crate trained. This will help them be prepared for being placed in a crate and carried to a strange location. This is important because leaving their home quickly and going to a strange area can be very stressful for an animal in an emergency. You don’t want to be caught caring for an animal that is experiencing anxiety and stress in the midst of the stress you and your family will be feeling in an emergency.
Preparing our pets is a very important aspect of preparedness that is often forgotten. Understanding pet preparedness and getting your pet ready and prepared will give you peace of mind and will help keep your pet safe.