You cannot predict when a disaster might strike, but you can certainly take steps to prepare for it. If a disaster hits and you are unprepared, you may be forced to leave your home without any supplies – which could put both you and your pet at risk. Not only do you need to prepare an emergency supply kit for your pet, but you also need to think about who will care for your pet if you are incapacitated or if you cannot get home. Below you will find tips for stocking an emergency supply kit for your pet and for preparing an emergency plan.
Stocking an Emergency Supply Kit
When a disaster strikes, you may only have a few minutes to gather things before you are forced to leave the house. You will not have time to rummage through your cupboards for supplies, so having an emergency supply kit already prepared could be a lifesaver. Below you will find a list of items to include in your pet’s emergency supply kit:
- Enough fresh water to supply your pet for a full seven days.
- Five days’ worth of dry and/or canned pet food per pet.
- Extra medications that your pet needs stored in a waterproof container – include dosing instructions.
- An updated copy of your pet’s medical records including your veterinarian’s contact number.
- For cats, a litter box with enough litter for five days and a scoop – you should also include a garbage bag to use for disposing litter. Aluminium roasting pans make great disposable litter trays too.
- Any leashes, harnesses or carriers your pets need for safe transport.
- A current photo of your pet along with a physical description – this will be useful if you and your pet are separated during the disaster.
- Having your pet microchipped is also good idea and make sure you take a note of the identification number.
- A food and water dish for your pet plus a few extra toys.
- Basic cleaning supplies, as well as a roll of paper towels.
- First-aid kit
- A flashlight
Tips for Making a Disaster Plan
In addition to stocking an emergency supply kit for your pets, you should also come up with a disaster plan. Think about who you will ask to take care of your pets if you are unable to get home – make sure the person you choose is familiar and comfortable with your pets and that they have what is needed (keys, gate codes etc) to access your home. When you choose an emergency caregiver, show them where the emergency supply kit is and make sure they know how to administer any medications your pet needs. If you regularly use a pet-sitting service or a dog walker, call them to see what services they are able to offer in case of an emergency.
If you are forced to evacuate your home, you should always take your pets with you – if your home is not safe for you, then it is not safe for your pets, either.
Remember that not all Red Cross disaster shelters will accept pets, so make sure you know where you will take your pets in the case of emergency. Find a reputable boarding kennel and ask your local animal shelter if they accept pets in times of emergency. Make a list of hotels / motels that accept pets and have friends / family on standby to support you in your time of need too.
Generally, in the event of a disaster, you should try to evacuate early – if you wait until you are ordered to evacuate, you may be instructed to leave your pets behind. If you are forced to leave your pets, place them in a room where they will be protected from outside dangers. Identify in advance which room this is and how you will ensure enough provisions can be left in your absence.
While you never know when a disaster might hit, there are steps you can take to prepare yourself for an emergency. For the benefit of your pets and yourself, take the time to stock an emergency supply kit and create a plan for what you will do in the case of a disaster.