Preparing your pets to evacuate in an emergency situation is something I’m sure most of us dread. It can be very stressful for the pets and for us as well. However, unless you are in a situation where it is safe to shelter in place, this is something you’ll want to be prepared for. It is important to have supplies ready in advance and a destination.
The best case scenario is that you have friends or relatives that live outside of the area who will let you and your pets stay with them. If that is not the case, then you will need to do some research in advance. It is important that you do not wait until the emergency happens to try to find a solution. Here are a few ideas:
1) Pet friendly hotels – Have a list of pet friendly hotels handy and find out what their limits are in advance. Some will not accept large dogs or cats etc. For large catastrophic events, some hotels may temporarily allow pets, but you need to inquire directly to confirm acceptance.
2) Veterinarian offices – Some veterinarian offices will board pets or can assist locating resources. Find out if your vet does or knows of another veterinarian who can assist during an emergency.
3) Animal Assistance Organization or boarding facilities – Check to see if there are associations or organizations who help provide shelter for animals for areas that are in state or federal emergency zones. Also check into boarding kennels in the surrounding areas to see what options you may have.
4) City – check with your local government and find out if they have any provisions for animals during an emergency. When I worked in the shelters, a lot of towns were coming up with solutions to house pets near the shelters. One town converted an old bus with cages, a sink with water and a generator. It can house over 50 pets. A veterinarian volunteers and stays in the bus with the animals. It turned out to be a wonderful solution and their town will lend out the bus during emergencies to other towns in the area if they don’t need it for themselves at the time. Perhaps you can approach your town with the idea or make something similar yourself.
Be creative! It all depends on how many and what type of animals you have. If you only have one dog, then you may be able to shelter in your car or pet friendly hotel outside of the danger zone. It’s best to have a plan. The more animals you have, the more you need to plan in advance.
It is important to have an emergency kit for your pets just like you do for yourself. This is whether your sheltering in place at home or if you have to move to a different location. You will need the following things:
1) Food – Have at least three days’ worth of food on hand per pet.
2) Water – Have at least three days’ worth of water on hand per pet.
3) First Aid Kit – Make sure you have some essentials to deal with any minor medical problems that may arise. Triple antibiotic ointment and bandages for cuts etc.
4) Medications – Have at least a week’s supply of any medications that your pets may be on.
5) Collar and ID tag – It is very important that your pets have identification on them in case you get separated for any reason. It is also a good idea to have a picture of you and your pet together to prove ownership.
6) Pet Carriers – It is important to have enough pet carriers or crates to confine or move your pets if necessary. This should definitely be done in advance. Make sure you have your pet’s name, your name, address and cell number attached or taped to the carrier.
7) Sanitation – Make sure you have enough supplies to maintain proper sanitation. Litter, paper towels, trash bags, gloves, bleach and newspapers are a few things that you might want to have on hand.
8) Toys or blankets – This may not seem essential but a familiar item can help reduce stress for your pets.
9) Paperwork – Keep a file with copies of vaccination records and any pet license paperwork for each animal.
I hope these suggestions will help you prepare for an emergency for your pets. Emergencies are scary enough, preparing in advance can really help reduce the stress on you and your pets.
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