Animal Disaster Preparedness: Are You Ready?
Did you know that Saturday, May 9th is National Animal Disaster Preparedness day? Makes you wonder...do you have a disaster plan for your animals? Whether it's a fire, earthquake, hurricane, or anything you can think of, pets are often the ones to be left behind. This is because owners either have nowhere to take them or they just don't care, sadly. Make sure that in the event of an emergency, you have a plan in place for your pets.
1. Plan shelter
Where will you go? Not everywhere will accept pets, even in a natural disaster. Whether this is with a family member/friend or hotel, make sure you have somewhere for EVERYONE to go that's outside the disaster area. If you can't find somewhere for both of you, many facilities open their doors for just animals like boarding kennels or horse stables.
Here are a list of websites to check for pet-friendly hotels courtesy of the CDC:
bringfido.com or call 877-411-FIDO
dogfriendly.com or call 888-281-5170
doginmysuitcase.com or call 8880254-0637
pet-friendly-hotels.net or call 866-966-3046
pets-allowed-hotels.com or call 800-250-1625
2. Make a buddy system
Have a trustworthy neighbor? Ask them to be the one to check on our animals incase you aren't home when emergency hits. If they are someone willing to take your pets with them, that's even better. Make sure they know where their supplies are and how to get into your residence. You can also put a sticker like the one below on your front door or window to let authorities know to save your pets when you aren't home.
3. Keep a "go bag"
A go back can be any bag that holds extra food, water, vet records and any other relevant items you need for caring for your pets in the case of needing to suddenly leave with nothing else. The CDC has compiled a list of suggested supplies for your kit and to bring with you:
Leash, collar with ID, and harness
Appropriate-sized pet carriers with bedding and toys
Food (in airtight waterproof containers or cans) and water for at least 2 weeks for each pet
Food and water bowls and a manual can opener
Plastic bags for dog poop and a litter box and litter for cats
Cleaning supplies for accidents (paper towels, plastic bags, disinfectant)
Medications for at least 2 weeks, instructions and treats used to give the medications, and a pharmacy contact for refills
Flea and tick medication and heartworm preventative for 1 month
Photocopied veterinary records (rabies certificate, vaccinations, recent FeLV/FIV test results for cats, prescriptions, etc.)
Recent photos of your pet
Contact information for you and friends or relatives
Boarding instructions, such as feeding schedule, medications, and any known allergies and behavior problems
A pet first aid book and first aid kit
Documents, medications, and food should be stored in waterproof containers
4. Staying at home?
If the only option is to stay home and brace it, make sure you have enough supplies to last at least a couple of weeks for your pets. For a hurricane, have life jackets for dogs and yes, even cats. Try to stay confined to a single room with the least amount of windows and no small area for cats to hide in. If you are forced to evacuate without your pets (and praying that never has to happen), keep your pets secured in one room with at least 10 days of food and water along with alerting any rescue teams that your pets are inside.
5. Identify them
Make sure all animals have proper identification including collars with tags and microchips with updated information. For yourself, have photos of all your pets that include identifying features in case they end up in the shelter.
A natural disaster is life changing and can be terrifying. But imagine how your pets feel when they have no idea what's going on? Make sure you have a plan for them and stick to it. The best thing that you can do for them is to keep them safe from danger and with you till the end.