Dr. Justine Lee discusses Disaster Preparedness month and how you can prepare to care for your pet in the event of catastrophe. For more from Dr. Lee, find her on Facebook!
Did you know the month of September is National Preparedness Month? As an emergency critical care specialist, I like to use this time to make sure that pet owners are also well prepared for disasters or emergencies. The general rule is to be prepared to go three days without food sources, water, electricity or access to stores or local services.
We’ll focus this blog just for preparations for your pet. For more information on what you need to supply for yourself, check out some great resources from FEMA or the American Red Cross on human survival kits.
During Hurricane Katrina, many pets were sadly abandoned. If you end up evacuating your home, don’t leave your pets behind, as the likelihood they’ll survive or reconnect with you afterwards is low (especially without a collar and microchip)!
Keep in mind that if you are going to a public shelter during a disaster, often animals are not allowed inside. When in doubt, survey pet-friendly hotels in advance so you know you have a place to go to with your pets. Also, make sure you have shelter alternatives in advance – friends, loved ones, colleagues, etc. who are willing to host you and your pet(s) in case of an evaluation or emergency.
[Check out 5 Things You Probably Don't Know About Disaster Preparedness for Pets.]
Making an animal emergency supply preparedness kit for your pet is simple: start with a brightly colored backpack. (I like to make sure it’s a red or a bright color in case you need to use it as a signal for help.). Also, in case of an emergency, you can easily find it in your closet or basement and “ grab and go.”
Some must-haves to include in your animal emergency backpack include:
- A luggage tag on your backpack – that way, your name, address, email and multiple emergency contact numbers are available.
- A leash, harness, cat carrier (a pillow case or cardboard box will work in a pinch) and extra collar, appropriately labeled with pet identification tags with your contact information.
- A copy of your pet’s latest health certificate, vaccine records, and medical records in a sealed, watertight plastic bag.
- A few extra doses of heartworm preventative pills and flea/tick preventative medication
- At least 2 weeks worth of your pet’s medication
- Extra plastic bags (poop bags)
- A basic first aid kit
- A small flashlight with extra batteries
- An extra plastic food bowl
- A Gulpy water dispenser (so you can provide water to your dog at any time)
- A new, sealed bag of treats (that can help entice your pet to eat in times of stress)
- A few cans of dog or cat food and bottles of water: Pop-off lid canned food is great to keep in your pet emergency kit as it doesn’t require a can opener. It allows you feed your pet during a disaster. I typically don’t recommend storing dry kibble (which can go rancid after several years) – alternatively, you can use an unused, unopened dry pet food bag.
- A quart size bag full of kitty litter: Again, you never know when you have to evacuate quickly with your pet. Keeping a bag of kitty litter in your first aid kit or in your cat carrier is imperative in case you’re on the run.
- Kitty litter pan
The last few tips?
- Always pre-program your cell phone with the phone numbers to your veterinarian, your emergency veterinarian, and a family member’s emergency contact information. Better yet, print this out and store these phone numbers in your plastic, waterproof bag. That way, if your cell phone dies, you still have access to this information.
- Always pre-program the address of your veterinarian’s office and emergency veterinarian’s clinic into your car’s GPS, so you can get there immediately in case of emergency.
When in doubt, take the time to create a disaster preparedness kit for your pet. That way you can make sure your four-legged friend stays safe during an emergency or disaster also.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
September is National Disaster Preparedness Month
Keep yourself and your pets safe with tips from American Humane
September is National Disaster Preparedness Month, and as the country is still reeling after Hurricane Dorian’s dangerous, unpredictable path, American Humane wants to ensure that all pet owners are equipped with the knowledge and tools to keep their pet safe if and when disaster strikes.
Make sure your pet wears a collar and ID tags that include up-to-date identification and contact information.
Your pet’s tag should include his or her name, your telephone number, and any critical health information. American Humane also recommends microchipping your pet – you’ll increase the chances of being reunited with them if they wander from home.
Create an animal disaster preparedness plan.
While the thought of an impending disaster can be stress-inducing and chaotic, it’s important to make a plan in order to keep yourself, your family, and your pet safe from harm. To create your disaster preparedness plan:
Know where you’ll go if disaster strikes
Choose a safe place where you and your pets can go if you need to evacuate or seek shelter. Contact your veterinarian for a list of recommended boarding facilities, or reach out to your local shelter to ask if they provide emergency shelter for pets. If you are evacuating to a hotel, inquire whether the accommodations are pet-friendly. Most importantly, never leave your pet behind.
Have a pet disaster preparedness kit ready:
Having the critical supplies and items that your pet will need in case of emergency is important, particularly if you’re forced to evacuate unexpectedly. Pet owners should also have their pet’s carrier at the ready, and stock your kit with their leash, food and water bowls, 7-10 days of food, medications and medical records in a waterproof container, and first-aid supplies.
The American Humane Rescue team is prepared to deploy any of our emergency vehicles—each stocked with medications supplied by Zoetis Petcare—at a moment’s notice to help animals in need, but we want to ensure that all pet owners are prepared, too. This September during National Disaster Preparedness Month, plan ahead to keep yourself, your family, and your pets safe when disaster strikes.
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Founded in 1877, American Humane is committed to ensuring the safety, welfare and well-being of animals.
September is National Preparedness Month: Plan for the Pet
September is National Preparedness Month, and as the country slowly recovers from Hurricane Dorian’s devastating path of destruction, it is a perfect time to put an emergency plan in place for the whole family, which means pets, too.
From power outages and tornadoes to fires and floods, BluePearl wants to ensure that all pet owners are equipped with the information and tools to keep their pet safe when disaster strikes.
Build a Disaster Pet Kit
During an emergency, aim to keep your pet safe, happy, and comfortable. Keep an emergency kit handy and make sure all medications and records are up-to-date.
Items to include in your kit:
- A five to seven day supply of pet food and water (or more).
- An extra supply of medicine/s in a waterproof container.
- Hard copies of medical records and other important documents such as registration information, vaccination documents, and rabies tag. In emergency cases, retrieving computerized records may not be possible, and most boarding kennels and veterinarians will require medical records to ensure that vaccinations are current.
- Two leashes (one for backup) and a secure collar.
- A crate and pet carrier.
- Favorite treats, toys, and bedding (this helps to reduce stress).
- First aid kit customized for your pet’s emergency medical needs. At minimum, a good pet first aid kit will include antiseptic, bandages, and tweezers.
Evacuating often leads to a large number of lost pets. Talk with your veterinarian about permanent identification such as microchipping and register your pet in a recovery database to ensure a safe return home.
Keep Your Pet Drinking
During Hurricane Irma, BluePearl hospitals treated a large number of dogs and cats with urinary blockages caused by stress and dehydration. The stress of evacuating, coupled with decreased water consumption, can produce various urinary issues in pets, including obstructions. Remember to keep your pet drinking regularly to avoid chances of urinary complications.
Make a Plan: Know Where You’ll Go
Pet owners should plan evacuation routes and identify inclusive places to take shelter. Keep in mind that not all emergency shelters accept pets. For this reason, pet friendly hotels are a good alternative.
If you plan to stay with an out-of-town friend or relative, be mindful of other pet temperaments in the home you choose to visit. Amid a crisis, we frequently see cat and dog bites that occur by other household pets. Remember, dogs and cats can be territorial, so consider pet interactions when picking a final destination.
List contact information and addresses for veterinarians, boarding facilities, and animal hospitals local to where you plan to seek temporary shelter. This will be helpful if you are unable to return home or a sudden medical issue arises.
Align your plans with the evacuation recommendations of your local and/or state officials, and be ready to adjust your plan if there’s a change.
The safety precautions you take for yourself and your family, often translates to the safety of your pet. So, this National Preparedness Month, aim to keep the whole family safe by preparing and planning ahead.
September: Emergency Preparedness Month – Preparing with Pets
After seeing two extremely powerful hurricanes hit the U.S. and the raging wild fires in Oregon, it makes us all consider what we would do in a natural disaster. And it’s actually a perfect time to think about your plans since September is National Emergency Preparedness Month.
We should always be ready for whatever life throws at us, like hurricanes, droughts, fire, flood, landslides, tornadoes, terrorism, and more. There are a few things we can do that will make any disaster a little easier, especially when there are pets involved.
Emergency Preparedness for Pets
- Update and secure collars
- Update microchips or have microchips implanted
- Create a list of pet-friendly accommodations if you need to evacuate
- Keep a recent picture of each pet
- Make a list of emergency 24hr vets in your area
- Have emergency food and supplies on hand
- Have a carrier and leash for each pet
- Coordinate with neighbors, family, friends and pet sitters in case you get stranded and your pet is home alone alone
Make an Emergency Kit
It’s always important to have an emergency preparedness kit at home. Here are a few items you need to make sure to have on hand. If you’re going to be evacuated, you’ll need a 3 day supply of materials. If you’re staying at home it’s best to plan for 2 weeks.
- Water: One gallon, per person per day
- Food: Stock up on at least a 3 day supply of non-perishable, easy to prepare food. Include plenty of pet food and a manual can opener.
- Flashlights and electric tea candles
- First aid kit that includes pet supplies
- Batteries, including backup batteries or chargers for phones
- Battery powered or hand crank radio
- Camping stove/battery powered hot plate to warm up food
There are so many things to worry about during an emergency. If you have some of your basic necessities covered, you’ll have that much more peace of mind. Plan for every member of your family, including your pets. Disasters happen fast and can hit hard. Having even the smallest plan in place will help you know how to navigate if it happens to you.
In case an emergency was to happen while a Wet Noses Pet Sitter was at your home we will do everything to keep your pet safe. We will coordinate with you and keep your pets safe until they can be reunited with you.
SEPTEMBER: National Disaster Preparedness Month
Start getting ready now
ID your pet – Make sure that cats and dogs are wearing collars and identification tags that are up to date. Make sure your cell phone is on the tag. You’ll increase your chances of being reunited with pets who get lost by having them microchipped.
Put together a disaster kit
The disaster kit should include:
- Food and water for at least five days for each pet
- Bowls and a manual can opener if you are packing canned pet food
- Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container
- A pet first-aid book
- Cat litter box, litter, litter scoop and garbage bags to collect all your pets’ waste
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses
- Sturdy carriers to transport pets safely
- Current photos of you with your pets and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them in case you and your pets become separated—and to prove that they are yours once you’re reunited
- Written information about your pets’ feeding schedules, medical conditions and behavior issues along with the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in foster care
Find a safe place to stay ahead of time
Before a disaster hits, call your local office of emergency management to see if you will be allowed to evacuate with your pets and verify that there will be shelters in your area that take people and their pets. Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to find out if they accept pets. Make arrangements with friends or relatives. Ask people outside your immediate area if they would be able to shelter you and your pets—or just your pets—if necessary. Consider a kennel or veterinarian’s office.
Plan for your pet in case you’re not home
In case you’re away during a disaster or evacuation order, make arrangements well in advance for someone you trust to take your pets and meet you at a specified location. Be sure the person is comfortable with your pets and your pets are familiar with them. Give your emergency caretaker a key to your home and show them where your pets are likely to be (especially if they hide when they’re nervous) and where your disaster supplies are kept. If you have a pet sitter, they may be able to help. Discuss the possibility well in advance.
If you evacuate, take your pet
If it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. You have no way of knowing how long you’ll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able—or allowed—to go back for your pets. Pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost or killed.
Evacuate early. Don’t wait for a mandatory evacuation order. Some people who have waited to be evacuated by emergency officials have been told to leave their pets behind. The smell of smoke or the sound of high winds or thunder may make your pet more fearful and difficult to load into a crate or carrier. Evacuating before conditions become severe will keep everyone safer and make the process less stressful.
If you have to stay home, do it safely
If your family and pets must wait out a storm or other disaster at home, identify a safe area of your home where you can all stay together. Close off or eliminate unsafe nooks and crannies where frightened cats may try to hide. Move dangerous items such as tools or toxic products that have been stored in the area.
The HSUS provides more information on disaster preparedness including what to do after the disaster.