September is National Disaster Preparedness Month. It’s important to construct emergency plans for you and your pet before disaster strikes. Hopefully, you have already considered emergency preparations for your family, but did you remember to include your pets in those plans? Take a look at some things you can do to be a smart pet owner and ready your furry friend for an emergency.
#1: Pet Identification
First, if your pet is separated from you during an emergency, they need to be identifiable. Now is a good time to update your pets ID tags and shots. Include your name, your pet’s name, and your contact information on their tag. You might also want to consider microchipping. Microchipping is one of the best preparations you can make, just in case your dog gets stranded or lost during a storm. You have much better chances of being reunited quickly. It costs around $50 and can be done in a matter of minutes. Contact your veterinarian for more information.
#2: Prepare an Emergency Bag For Your Pet
Next, you should have an emergency bag prepared in advance for your dog. In this bag, you need to include things for basic survival such as fresh food and water. You might also need a crate or carrier, medicine, sanitary items such as paper towels and small paper bags, toys or comfort items, copies of vaccination and veterinary records, an extra collar, leash, and ID tags. Keep this bag near an emergency exit, so it is easy to grab and go in case evacuation is necessary. You should also include a picture of you and your pet together. This will make identification of you and your pet easier if you are separated during a natural disaster.
#3: Practice Emergency Fire and Evacuation Drills With Your Family and Pet
When you practice emergency evacuation drills with your family, always include your pet. This way your dog, your family, and you are familiar with the routine and don’t get confused when trying to exit quickly.
#4: Have an Emergency Plan in Case of a Disaster Strikes While You’re Away From Home
So, you’re prepared for an emergency while you’re at home, but what if a storm hits while you’re out of the house, and your dog is home alone? In this case, it’s a good idea to exchange your contact information and an extra set of house keys with a close neighbor in advance. Do this so that in the event of a storm, they can come and transport your dog to a safe location. Be careful when doing this, because you need to choose someone who is familiar with your pet, and whom you and your dog trust.
#5: Place Stickers On Windows Of Your House to Show That a Pet is Inside
This is a good idea because it alerts emergency responders that you have a pet, so they are hopefully able to get him or her out safely.
#6: Have a Prepared List of Boarding Places for Your Pet
If you need to evacuate with your pet, it is best to have an on-hand list of places for your pet to stay, in case you cannot have animals where you’re going. This way your dog is in a safe place until you return to get them.
#7: Always Make Sure Pets Are Inside At any Sign of a Storm
If you ever hear a clap of thunder, see a flash of lightning or anything else that would alert you there is a storm is coming, make sure that your dog is safely inside and out of harm’s way. NEVER leave your dog chained or tied up outside during harsh weather.