Since we live in an active earthquake zone, as well as face potential flooding from El Nino, it is good to include your pet as a part of your family’s emergency preparedness plan.
It is important to have your pet properly identified. Your veterinarian can implant an identification microchip and get it registered with a national microchip company. Keep a collar and identification tag on your pet at all times, even if it lives primarily in the house. Be sure your current cell phone number is on the tag.
Pet Disaster Kit
Make a pet disaster kit. A storage bin with handles can be grabbed in case of emergency. The disaster kit should include any pet medications, the phone number of your veterinarian and the local emergency clinic, vaccination history, photos of your pet (in case it gets lost), feeding bowls, and several days’ worth of food and water. Canned food can last longer than dry food, so don’t forget a can opener. If you have a cat, include a litter box and litter.
Pet First Aid Kit
There are pet first aid kits available in pet stores, or there are numerous websites on how to make your own and include one in your storage bin. Some basic items are adsorbent gauze pads, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes or spray, scissors with blunt ends, tweezers, and sterile saline solution to wash wounds. If your pet gets carsick, or is prone to diarrhea under stress, you may want some additional prescription medications on hand.
Transporting your Pet
A good transport crate for your pet can help you evacuate in an orderly manner. All cats and small dogs should be in a crate. Also, have a leash and harness handy and car safety harnesses to keep larger pets secure during the ride to a disaster shelter.
Try to determine in advance what hotels and other accommodations are pet-friendly. You can call your local office of emergency management to find out if pets will be accepted in shelters.
And, check with friends or relatives to see if they would be willing to host your entire family if you cannot stay in your home.
If there is a warning of a pending disaster, bring your pets indoors and close off areas where a frightened cat or dog may try to hide. Block off areas with toxic products as well as any vents or an open fireplace. You don’t want to spend valuable time searching for your pet if you are ordered to evacuate.
When Disaster Strikes
In the midst of a disaster, do not leave your pet behind. If it is not safe for you, it is not safe for them—and you have no way of knowing how long you will be evacuated. People trying to get back into damaged buildings to rescue their furry family members have hampered emergency workers during a disaster.
If you are fully prepared, handling a disaster will go more smoothly for both you and your pet. You can obtain further information on pet disaster preparedness at www.ready.govor call (800) BE READY.
What if you are away from your pet when a disaster strikes?
Do you have a back-up plan for your pet’s care if an emergency happens and your pet isn’t with you? Make arrangements ahead of time for a friend/neighbor, family member or pet sitter who lives nearby to care for your pet in case of an emergency. Let them know where the Pet Disaster Kit and crate are stored so they can quickly grab the supplies, along with your pet.