National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day was observed on May 8th. This important day highlights the weight and responsibility pet owners have in preparing for disasters. According to Deputy Administrator Rich Serino of FEMA, having a plan, being informed, and being ready are the first steps in disaster preparedness.
Disasters come in many forms – from natural disasters to isolated incidents at your home – and whenever it happens, all family members (including indoor and outdoor pets) need to be protected, remain safe and secure, and have the basic necessities for survival on hand.
Use these suggestions from The Humane Society of the United States, San Diego Humane Society, SPCA and PETA to get started.
- Have an evacuation plan in place at all times. Know which shelters accept pets in case you need to evacuate.
- Keep pet’s vaccinations current. Keep a copy of your pet’s medical records in your files in case you need to take them to a shelter or a boarding facility.
- Have an adequate sized carrier for your pet with enough room to sit, stand and turn around. Label it with contact information.
- If you are staying at home, have pet crates large enough to hold bedding, litter pan, and water bowl plus ample room for your pet to move around.
- Have extra collars, leashes, and a harness for each pet. Collars should have your pet’s name, your name, contact phone number, and alternate number.
- Take pictures of yourself with your pet to prove ownership.
- Put together a pet first aid kit. This should include pet-friendly clippers, bandages, ointments and pet care book. If your pet is on medication, have at least a two-week supply available. Take a pet first aid class so you’ll know what to do in case of an emergency.
- Have a minimum of 3 to 5 days worth of water and food, ample cat litter and a litter pan, food and water bowl, scooper, plastic bags, and sanitary hand wipes.
Having a pet door is also a helpful measure. A door provides not only convenience and easy access for your pet; it also provides security for reentering the home in case wildlife or unfriendly animals are prowling the property. In a disaster, such as fast approaching inclement weather, your pet can enter your home if you’re away.
Plan today for unforeseen disasters that can happen anytime and rest easy knowing your pets are also prepared.