Despite what we may want to believe, the world we live in isn’t always a bucket of rainbows. Sometimes disaster strikes, and being prepared means more than just stocking up on water and canned beans. Especially if you have a pet to look after.
Whether you have to evacuate, or are simply without utilities, this emergency checklist will help you and your pet get ready for anything the world might dish out.
Assemble Your Emergency Kit
The first step towards being prepared is gathering supplies. When building your kit, make sure to include enough provisions for your pet, along with any of their necessities, and keep it all somewhere easily accessable. To break it down, here are most of the essentials, with an emphasis on pet needs:
- A week's worth of food and water for everybody, pets included (make sure to rotate your emergency stash so it doesn’t spoil--maybe feed your dog from the stash and then add new food to it)
- Can opener (if bringing canned food)
- Medical records and medicine (also rotate/use before it expires)
- First aid kit and pet first aid kit
- AM/FM Radio (battery or wind up preferred)
- Carrier or extra leash to make transportation possible
- Extra collar
- Recent photo of pet (for ‘Lost’ posters)
- Disposable tray and litter, scoopable is best (cat owners only)
- Blanket (for swaddling frightened pets)
- Chew toys and other toys
When the unthinkable occurs, it is great if your pet(s) are able to be identified, but even better if they can be returned to you because of a microchip. If, for whatever reason, a microcip is not an option, at least make sure that they are equipped with an ID tag.
Partner Up, Neighbor
To be fully prepared you need to be ready for anything, including your absence. In the event that you are away from home when the disaster happens, it helps to have a neighbor who is willing to lend a hand.
Find a Place to Stay
Since many shelters do not have accommodations for pets, it is essential that you know of a place where every member of your family is welcome, or at least a place where they can go. Look up the policies of shelters in your area, as well as the location of a kennel and/or animal shelter that can board your pet(s).
Have a Backup Vet
Should your neighborhood require evacuation, it is a good idea to know of a place to seek medical help outside of your community physician or veterinarian. Make sure you know a number of the surrounding hospitals and pet emergency clinics, along with the best route to get there.
Place ‘In Case of Emergency’ stickers on any window that is easily visible to rescue workers, alerting them to the presence of any small children or pets that might still be in the house. Check off all the boxes that apply to you (i.e., cat, dog, bird) and indicate how many you have. If you are able to evacuate your entire family, and you can safely take the time, it is best if you can cross out or write ‘EVACUATED’ across at least one of the emergency stickers to let rescue workers know.
Keep Your Pet Calm
Remember that pets feed off of emotional energy, so during a crisis keep your pets from getting nervous with some soft words and nice petting. And who knows, it might just keep you from freaking out as well.
And there you have it. If you follow each of these steps you should be able to face any catastrophe, and move through it without the panic that comes with being unprepared. Hopefully this checklist will never be needed, but it is better to have what you don’t need than to need what you don’t have. Stay safe!
More On Pet Preperation
Cat and Dog Fire Safety
How to Treat a Cat's Wound
Disaster Preparedness for Your Pets