When experts speak to survivors of natural disasters and other emergencies requiring evacuations, a common thread is woven through their stories.
"I didn't have enough time.... It happened so fast.... I wasn't ready to leave...." Often, pets are left behind, not because they aren't loved, but because their owners weren't ready to evacuate them.
September is National Preparedness Month. Besides following these tips for your home and family, get your pets ready as well by packing a PET SURVIVAL KIT.
- Find a carrier and be sure it can hold your pet safely and comfortably. In a pinch, cats can be quickly evacuated using pillowcases.
- Extra leash and collar with up-to-date ID tags.
In a waterproof container that you can easily carry place:
- Food (two week supply)*
- Water (two week supply)** Scroll down to learn how to calculate water requirements
- Familiar items to make your pet feel comfortable
- Pet First Aid Kit
- Flashlight or light sticks
- Metal food and water dishes
- Spoon and manual can opener for canned food
- Old towels/bedding
- Pet wipes to clean contaminated feet
- Dog tie out
- Copies of vet records, licenses and vaccines (especially RABIES)
- Medications as prescribed by your veterinarian*
- Important phone numbers for your veterinarian, emergency hospital, kennel and hotels that accept pets
- Pictures of you with your pet so you can easily be identified as belonging to each other
* Food and medications should be replaced regularly so they don't expire while being stored.
** Calculating daily water requirements for pets:
Most pets drink 1oz per pound of body weight each day.
Ex. 24lb dog would drink 24oz or 3 cups of water per day.
Talk to your vet about microchipping. These tiny devices are no larger than a grain of rice, can be quickly injected under your pet's skin and provide them with a permanent identification number. Unfortunately, they cannot track your pet's location, like these GPS systems can but once found and brought to a veterinarian or shelter, they can be identified by a scanner like this one.
For other great tips, including caring for exotic and large animals during a disaster, check out these tips from the International Federation for Animal Welfare.
Be empowered. Be prepared. Be your pet's advocate in an emergency!