6 Strategies to Keep Pets Safe in a Disaster
Our thoughts go out to all our pet parents and sitters who have struggled over the past few months with floods and tornados. This is the time of year we see more natural disasters and with that June has been named National Pet Preparedness Month. As a pet sitter, I have to be prepared for my own pets as well as helping my clients prepare their pets for an emergency.
So how do you begin to prepare?
1. Identification: One of the easiest and most important things is to get the pet proper identification. Make sure all tags have the correct address or phone numbers so that if a pet gets lost, their parent can easily be found. The same goes for microchips. Another helpful tip is to include information such as whether they need medication on their tag to help emergency personnel know what type of care they need while they work on reconnecting pet and parent.
2. Sticker your house: Another really easy thing to do is put a sticker somewhere in the front of the home, which shows the kind of pet and how many there are in the home. Make sure to leave a vets name and number on the sticker, this will let rescuers know the information they need if they find a pet in the home. These stickers are great in the case of a fire as well!
3. Photograph: Snap a picture of you with your pet/pets. In the confusion of a disaster a picture may be worth a thousand words in the event your pet loses its’ collar (back to the microchip but please make certain that information is up to date!)
4. Plan for shelter: In areas that are prone to any type of natural disaster, pet parents should find a safe place outside of the area where they can take their pets. It doesn’t matter where the safe place is, at a friends’ home or a family members’, or a pet friendly hotel. A good idea is to have a list of options and contact numbers for planned safe locations. Even if it’s for a short time or a minor issue, if it’s too hot or cold for a pet parent to stay at their home, it’s the same for their pets. Don’t leave them behind! In a situation when the pet parent isn’t home when disaster strikes, have a plan in place with a neighbor, friend or family member who can come to the home and take the pet to their place, or a designated safe location.
5. Emergency Kits: Natural disasters are scary for everyone, but especially for pets because they don’t understand what is going on. In the craziness of running around or evacuating, things can easily be forgotten. That’s why it’s a good idea to put together an emergency kit that includes everything a pet parent will need to take care of their pet for a few days. The kit should include bowls, food, bottles of water, a leash and/or harness, extra medications, first aid kit, treats, and maybe a toy or something to keep them calm. If evacuation does occur, keep a pet on a leash at all times while outside. The area may be unfamiliar to the pet, with many different smells and sounds. Don’t forget your own emergency kit either! Again, water, medications, I.D., important papers, cash, and phone charger are some things to consider.
6. Plan: Have a plan in place! What do they say? A failure to plan is a plan for failure. Often times there’s little to no warning of an impending disaster. If you’re prepared even the slightest bit you’ll have a greater chance of keeping yourself and your pets safe and the aim is no pet left behind.