This Saturday is National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day. Today we’re sharing an updated version of the information we previously published about disaster preparedness.
Are you prepared? Do you have a disaster plan for your pets? With hurricane season just around the corner in our part of the country, National Pet Disaster Preparedness Day is a good time to check and see if you’re prepared in case of emergency.
Do you have ID? Collar with tag and registered microchip both give the maximum ability to get pets back who go astray during a disaster. If you have changed telephone numbers recently, verify that you have updated the number on tags and with the chip registry.
Do you have a disaster kit handy? Disaster kits are good to have on hand if you need to evacuate, and they are also filled with handy things in case disaster strikes and you are at home with local stores or delivery services not operating. A disaster kit should be in some kind of a durable bin or bag and contain:
- Food for at least five days. If you use dry food, package it in something airtight and rotate it every six months so it doesn’t go bad. Don’t forget to include bowls. Paper bowls are a good idea since they are lightweight and you don’t have to worry about cleaning them.
- Water for at least five days. You probably have this for yourself, but don’t forget your pets!
- Litterbox with litter, scoop, and trash bags to dispose of used litter. There are disposable litterboxes on the market. Disposable foil pans like you would use for making a turkey can work for this, too. If you plan ahead, you can sometimes find those on sale after the holidays when everyone is done turkey for the year.
- Medications and written instructions on how you give them, especially if your routine varies at all from what is on the prescription label. (If you cut pills in half and dose twice a day, for example)
- A copy of medical records, especially proof of recent vaccines. If you have to board your pet during an evacuation, you’ll need that documentation.
- Written information about feeding schedules and medical conditions that could be left with a boarding facility if necessary. You may have compiled this already for a pet sitter. If so, you can use a copy of the same information here.
- Current photos and descriptions of pets to use in case you are separated from them during a disaster. It’s a good idea to also have a photo of yourself with your pets for a quick proof of ownership. Tip: You can put all of the photos and other documentation on a thumb drive to make it compact rather than carrying it all on paper.
Do you have cat carriers for everyone? You may only take one or two cats to the vet at a time, but if you have more cats than that, make sure you have enough carriers to go around in case of evacuation. If you aren’t going to use the additional carriers for anything other than emergencies, less-expensive plastic carriers have the advantage of being stackable if you’re in tight quarters, and most of them break down for compact, nested storage.
- Local evacuation centers. Do the ones in your area make provisions for pets? More of them are including this in their contingency planning, but you should check before assuming that they do. Contact your local emergency management agency well ahead of a disaster — not after — to ask how to research this for your locality.
- A family member or friend in a nearby region or state who might accommodate you. It’s always better to ask now rather than showing up in their driveway in an emergency!
- Pet friendly hotels. Do you know where to find pet-friendly hotels? Several internet sites include listings, such as:
Keep in mind that when there is a disaster that causes an evacuation, lodging fills up fast.
What if you are away from home when disaster strikes? Talk to a trusted friend or neighbor in advance about helping evacuate and meet you with your pets in a safe location away from the disaster.
We all hope that disaster won’t strike us, but it’s best to be prepared and not need the plan than need a plan and have no idea what to do!