Evacuating Natural Disasters With Your Pet
Earthquakes, wildfires, tornadoes, volcanoes, floods, blizzards…
No matter where you live, you are at the mercy of the weather and natural disasters. And there may come a time when you have to evacuate your home.
The best way to handle any emergency is to be prepared for it. You should have a preparedness bag for yourself and your family, with food, water, drugs, a first aid kit, and other items ready at a moment’s notice just in case. But are you as prepared to get your pet out?
Collars, Tags, and Leashes
Make sure you have two or more collars or harnesses and several leashes for each of your dogs and cats. Each collar should also have either an identification tag or have identification information embroidered on the collar. Be sure to include the pet’s name, your name, and a cell phone number: if you have had to evacuate your home address and a landline number will be of no help if you and your pet are separated. You may want to consider micro-chipping your pet: a micro-chip greatly increases the odds that you and your pet are reunited.
Make sure you have a crate for each of your pets, that the pet is accustomed to the carrier, and considers it a safe place. It’s important that you have a separate carrier for each pet. Even if your dog and cat normally are the best of friends, when their lives are turned upside with crazy weather and humans frantically darting about, they will be much more stressed. Be sure to put your pet’s name and your contact information both on the carrier.
Have copies of your pet’s vaccination records with you and attached to the carrier. Even pet-friendly shelters may not accept your pet without proof of vaccinations. Make sure all your pet’s vaccinations are kept current.
Food, Water, and Medications
Make sure you are able to quickly and easily grab enough food and water to last each of your pets at least one week. You should have at least a week’s worth of their medications as well. Be sure medications are labeled by pet and dosage in case someone else has to medicate your pets for you.
Have a destination in mind that will accept your pet.
Determine where you would try to go in the event of an emergency. Do you have a friend or family member that could put your family and pets up if need be? If not, are there pet-friendly hotels in that area? Although some emergency shelters may accept pets, knowing you have a place for them will make a stressful situation at little easier.
Have someone in the area that can get your pets.
Disasters sometimes strike when you are not at home, and you can’t always get back to rescue your pets. Designate a trusted friend or neighbor that your pets know that can get them to safety if you are unable to get to your home to help them.
Have a sticker on your door advising emergency personnel you have pets.
Get a sticker that will alert emergency personnel that you have pets in your home. They will often attempt to get the pets to safety. But be sure to write “EVACUATED” on the note if you are able to get your pets out with you, so the emergency workers don’t waste resources.
In any disaster, many pets are separated from their owners; and people are stranded either because they won’t leave their pets or because they go back to get pets. Being prepared is the best way to ensure that you and your pets get to safety should a disaster strike.