Every year in the United States, up to 10 million pets are lost, many of them in the midst of disasters. When a hurricane hits land, fire engulfs drought-stricken forests, tornadoes touch down, or the earth shakes, dogs, cats, and other pets and livestock run, terrified, or are left behind. Most of them are never found again.
At least humans are capable of understanding what is happening. Animals are not. They only know fear and panic and the need to run far away.
There are steps that you can take to prepare for emergencies so that your pets and animals come with you or, at least, are sheltered and protected. But if it is too dangerous for you to stay in your home and you are evacuated, it is too dangerous for them as well.
Emergency Preparedness for Pets
Create an emergency ‘go’ kit for pets:
- Keep the kit in an easily accessible spot.
- Include leashes, collars, harnesses, or carriers to secure your animals and prevent them from escaping.
- Bowls, cat litter pan, can opener, if needed, should be in the kit all the time.
- Put in food, cat litter, and drinking water as soon as you realize that you might have to evacuate. Be sure that the pet food storage is secure.
- Prepare a first aid kit, including bandages, Coban, antibiotic ointment.
- Copies of vaccinations and a list of medications or medical problems should be placed in a water-proof bag and kept in the kit. Add your name and telephone numbers, along with those of your veterinarian.
- Keep photos of your animals with you in the picture for identification in the water-proof bag.
- If you have room, add your pet’s bed and a couple of toys.
Create a disaster plan in advance:
- Know the most likely route you will take and check with hotels and motels along the way to see if they will accept pets, especially in an emergency.
- Check with friends and relatives who will probably be out of the disaster area to see if they can board your animals for a while. You may have to separate your pets from one another temporarily.
- Keep a list of the phone numbers for the hotels, motels, and friends in the kit.
- Pets should be up-to-date on their vaccinations.
- Get them microchipped.
- Be sure to keep a supply of pet food storage in your home, in case it becomes difficult to secure after a disaster.
- Be sure that all of your furry friends are wearing collars with identification on them.
We love animals. Do not forget them in an emergency. When you make a plan for your family, don’t forget those others who depend entirely on you. Include emergency preparedness for pets in your plan. You will never regret it.