Since our efforts of helping to relocate the pets of Hurricane Katrina we are many times called upon to help answer questions on “What to do with your pets during an emergency!”
Our friends over at the UAN have created a great list of of what to do and how to be prepared for when an emergency strikes again for cat travel or for dog travel. Please take note, that May 19th is Animal Disaster Preparedness Day. Are you prepared?
Planning ahead is the key to keeping yourself and your companion animals safe during a disaster. Follow these tips to reduce the risk to your companion animals during disasters:
Place an emergency decal on your front window or door
If disaster strikes while you are not home, this decal will alert rescuers of the animals inside. Order an emergency window decal online at www.uan.org
Microchip your pets
Microchip identification is one of the best ways to ensure that you and your pet are reunited if you are separated. Be sure to keep the microchip registration up-to-date, and include at least one emergency number of a friend or relative who resides out of your immediate area.
Keep a collar and tag on all cats and dogs
Keep several current phone numbers on your animals identification tag. Identification on indoor-only cats is especially important. If your home is damaged during a disaster, they could easily escape.
Plan a pet-friendly place to stay
Search in advance for out-of-area pet-friendly hotels or boarding facilities, or make a housing exchange agreement with an out-of-area friend or relative.
Search for pet-friendly accommodations at: PetFriendly.com
Use the buddy system
Exchange pet information, evacuation plans and house keys with a few trusted neighbors or nearby friends. If youҒre caught outside evacuation lines when an evacuation order is issued, your neighbors or friends can evacuate your pets for you.
Prepare an emergency kit for each animal
Include copies of your pets vaccinations, photographs, emergency contact references, temporary identification (see below), pet first aid kit, food, water and important supplies in an easy-to-grab container.
When you evacuate with your animals, create a temporary tag with your temporary contact information and the phone number of an unaffected friend or relative.
Planning ahead can keep you and your pets together during a disaster!
Include extra medication in your disaster kit
If your animal takes medication, a replacement supply may not be easily available following a disaster, so keep extra on hand. DonҒt use expired medication.
Have a carrier or leash for each animal
Each dog should have his or her own harness and leash. Cats should have their own carriers.
Carry photos of you and your pets
If you are separated, photographs can prove that you are the rightful caregiver of your pets. Clear photographs of your pets, especially if they include identifying marks, can be helpful to create lost petӔ fliers.
Identify emergency veterinary facilities outside of your immediate area
If a disaster has affected your community, emergency veterinary facilities may be closed. Pets may become injured or ill during the disaster, so make sure you know how to access other emergency facilities. You can also check with your veterinarian to find out if they have an emergency plan that includes setting up in an alternate, emergency facility.
Store a weeks supply of fresh food
Keeping your petsҒ diet consistent during a time of stress is important. Make sure your food supply is always fresh, and store it in a water-tight container. If you use canned food, keep a spare can opener with your emergency supplies.
Store a weeks supply of fresh water
If officials declare your household water unfit to drink, itҒs also unsafe for your pets. Follow American Red Cross guidelines for storing emergency water for your family and your pets.
Plan for temporary confinement
Physical structures, like walls, fences and barns may be destroyed during a disaster. Have a plan for keeping your animal safely confined. You may need a tie-out, crate or kennel.
Comfort your animals
Your animals will appreciate your calm presence and soft, comforting voice if they are stressed following a disaster or while evacuated, and you may find it comforting to spend time with them, too. Some animals, especially cats, may be too scared to be comforted. Interact with them on their terms. Some animals may find toys, especially long-lasting chew toys, comforting.
Know where to search for lost animals
When animals become lost during a disaster, they often end up at a local shelter. Keep handy the locations of shelters in your community and nearby.
Taking a few moments of your day to prepare for such an emergency is crucial and we suggest doing this sooner, rather than later!