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Animals, People, & the Earth

Disaster Preparedness for Pets and Pet Parents

Disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires can strike with little to no warning, and that’s why it’s so important to have an emergency plan so you can act quickly and get to safety if needed. Here are our tips so you can protect yourself and your animals in case the worst were to happen.

If you’ve tuned into the news recently, you know that our planet is experiencing extreme weather as a result of climate change. From flash floods to devastating tornados, hurricanes, and wildfires, climate change is happening at a faster rate than scientists predicted and it’s vital that you know how to best protect yourself and your family, including your beloved fur babies.

At Earth Animal, we want to help you make sure your whole family is safe in the event of a disaster. That’s why we’ve put together these disaster preparedness tips to make it easier for pet parents to include their furry friends in their emergency plans.

Make a Plan Before Disaster Strikes

Disasters can strike without any warning whatsoever, which is why you’ll want to make sure you are prepared ahead of time so you can act quickly to get to safety. Depending on your location, you may want to plan for food and shelter for your whole family for at least one week.

Additionally, when you learn that a storm is coming, gather your pets inside since many animals can become disoriented and may wander away as the storm approaches.

Identifying Information

Make sure your pet is wearing necessary identifying information in case they become separated from you. A collar with an ID tag that includes your pet’s name, your name, and your phone and/or email address is helpful for reuniting lost pets with their parents.

You might also want to make sure your pet has a microchip. This is a small chip inserted under the skin that can be read electronically. With a chip, you can be sure your pet won’t lose it as he might with a collar.

Rescue Stickers

Another important consideration is rescue stickers. Put them in several windows and on the doors of your home to alert first responders to the fact that there are pets inside the house. Some providers offer these stickers free of charge.

Put one sticker on each side of the home as well as on the front and back doors. The stickers should include important information like the number of pets in the home, your name, and the phone number of your veterinarian.

If you are in a situation where you need to evacuate your home, write the word, “EVACUATED” across the stickers so emergency workers will know you got everyone out.

Where Will Your Pets Stay?

One thing to note is that not all human shelters accept pets. If ever you find yourself in a situation where you need to evacuate your home but can’t bring your pets with you to a temporary shelter, you’ll need to arrange for where your pets can stay safe and sound. You should never intentionally leave your pets behind in an evacuation situation. If it’s not safe for you, it’s not safe for them.

Your veterinarian may be able to provide you with a list of boarding kennels and pet shelters near you. Additionally, your local animal shelter might offer emergency shelter for evacuated pets. You should also identify any hotels or motels in your area that accept pets, and ask friends and relatives if they would be willing to shelter your pets in an emergency. No matter what, it’s helpful to have thought through these logistics ahead of time so you can move swiftly and get to safety.

If you have large animals like horses or exotic animals like birds, you’ll need to make special arrangements for them.

Emergency Caregivers

It’s also a good idea to arrange for an emergency caregiver. This is someone who is generally home during the day and could access your home easily with a copy of your keys.

This should also be someone who would be willing to go get your pets in the event of an evacuation if you’re not able to, and they should be willing to feed and care for them temporarily.

Pet Emergency Kit

Another thing you want to prepare for yourself and your pet is an emergency go-bag. It’s something you can grab and take with you out the door in the event you need to get out fast.

Your pet emergency kit should include the following items:

  • First-aid kit and guide book that includes bandage materials, liquid wound cleanser, and antibiotic ointment. Check with your veterinarian for any material recommendations and brands they would choose
  • 3 – 7 days’ worth of canned and/or dry food (you should change this out every two months so the food stays up-to-date)
  • Food dishes and water bowls
  • Extra collars, leashes, and/or harnesses
  • Photocopies or a USB with medical records (in a waterproof container)
  • A two-week supply of any medications (in a waterproof container) – remember to rotate these so they aren’t expired when you need them
  • At least 7 days’ worth of bottled water for your pet. You should replace the bottled water every two months
  • Travel bags or pet carriers for each pet
  • Flashlight
  • Blanket
  • Recent photos of your pets (in a waterproof container)
  • For cats, you’ll want a pillowcase and scoopable cat litter
  • For both dogs and cats, you’ll want toys and at least a week’s worth of carrier liners

Where to Shelter in Place

The last thing you want to arrange for is where you and your pets can shelter if you need to shelter in place. Which rooms in your house are safe havens?

Basements and bathrooms are typically recommended by authorities to be safe areas during a tornado or hurricane. If you have advance notice of a storm that might knock out electricity for a longer period of time, you can fill your bathtub, sinks, and washing machine with water so that you have water for various purposes during a power outage.

If flooding is a risk, you want to make sure you have a room in the highest part of your house where you and your pets can go. In the uppermost level of your home, you want to store an axe so that you can break out onto the roof should that become necessary.

Final Thoughts

Try to think of the different types of emergencies that occur in your geographical location and plan for where your whole family can safely shelter. It’s always best, if possible, to evacuate early and bring your animals with you. Pay attention to what authorities are saying and get out so you don’t risk your life or the lives of your family.

At Earth Animal, we want to help you make sure you have everything you need in the event of a disaster. Please stay safe in these unpredictable times!

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