Pet Emergency Preparedness
Whether you’re preparing for a natural disaster or a pandemic, it’s always a good idea to have a plan for you and your pets.
There are several steps you can take to prepare for an abrupt evacuation or quarantine. When you’re prepping your family for such disasters don’t forget about your pets! Here’s some things to keep in mind.
Where Will Your Pet Go?
Talk to a friend or family member about caring for your pet in the event you’re unable. Then, have a backup plan in case that person is also unable. A neighbor or someone within a short distance is ideal. Know your nearest boarding facilities and make sure you have copies of your pet’s vet records and vaccination history in case boarding becomes necessary. Take photos of any prescriptions your pets need. Keep your veterinarian’s information and phone number with this information, ideally in a folder, in a waterproof bag.
Food and Water
The great thing about dehydrated food like Honest Kitchen is that it’s compact and has a shelf life of 12-18 months. Make sure to keep a couple extra boxes on hand and rotate them out once or twice a year. Having a month supply of food for your pet should keep your mind at ease. It’s also recommended you have a gallon of water on hand for each day for all your family members, pets included. It’s also a good idea to stash chews for bored pups and treats in case you need to lure them somewhere they don’t want to go.
Don’t forget a First Aid Kit
First aid kits are important to have for pets and humans. Include gauze pads, bandages, tape, elastic wrap, and first aid ointment. Don’t forget Benadryl(TM), in case of an allergic reaction and Perfect Form for any GI upset your pet my be experiencing. Tools you have should include scissors, tweezers, a thermometer, and other first aid basics. Include any prescription medications needed by your pets.
Keep Gear Ready and Accessible
Crates will be extremely important in the event you’re evacuated or need to transport your animal. Having one for each pet is essential. Prepare your animals by making sure they’re comfortable in a crate to minimize the stress of being put in one during an emergency.
It’s not a bad idea to keep a spare leash with each crate, ready to go if necessary. Store extra leashes and collars on hand in case one breaks, or you become responsible for someone else’s pet. Additional bowls, like collapsible travel bowls are helpful and don’t take up too much room.
Disasters are usually messy which means your pet may be filthy, too. Since dogs and cats both groom themselves, if your pet is covered in filth you may need to clean him up so he doesn’t get sick trying to clean himself. Some shampoo (even baby shampoo) can make a huge difference. Include a comb, brush or two, scissors, and other basic supplies on hand.
Some Additional Supplies
You may want to include a blanket or two, several towels, and a few toys. If you’re evacuated or quarantined, both you and your pets will be bored. A play session will distract you both for a while. Have a few rolls of doggy pick up bags and if you have the room, a cardboard box and some litter for your cat.
A Container to Carry it All
There are several ways to carry this kit (along with your disaster kit for people). You can pack it in one of the crates for your pet or you can pack it in a plastic storage container, a big tote bag, or a suitcase. I use a plastic trash can with wheels. My disaster kit and my pets kit are all in one trash can that’s prominently marked, “Disaster Kit.’ It’s stored in the garage attached to the house, and I can then wheel it in the house, out of the house, or to my car; depending on where it’s needed.
Check Your Kit
Twice a year check your kit. Take out the food and water so you can use it and replace it with fresh food and water. Check everything in the first aid kit and replace those things that have been used or expired. Double check prescriptions and update anything that’s changed. This actually only takes a few minutes so it really isn’t a chore. If you do it on a regular basis, then you won’t forget. When daylight savings changed in the spring and the fall, I check the batteries in my home’s smoke detectors (as we’ve been told to do) and I update the disaster kit.
All of this preparation may seem to be courting disaster or to be looking at the world in a negative way. That might be true, in a way, but speaking from personal experience, if you ever need this kit you’ll be glad you took the time to put it together.
Lives Are Important
While emergency kits are extremely important to have on hand sometimes there’s just not enough time. Take care of the living beings and remember they’re the most important thing. Things can be replaced, lives cannot.