Disasters, whether a house fire or natural occurrence, can strike at any time, and a solid emergency plan can be live-saving, for yourself and your pet. Rather than scrambling at the last minute during a disaster, plan your emergency protocol now for a smooth evacuation. And, since your furry pal relies on you for all their care, ensuring they are part of your emergency plan is essential for their safety and well-being.
#1: Microchip your pet and check their registration information
If your pet hasn’t already been microchipped, consider having this quick procedure performed now. A microchip is the only permanent identification form for pets, and can be the only method that reunites you if separated. Inserting a microchip takes no more time or effort than a vaccination. Although the needle used to insert the chip is slightly larger than that used for vaccines, most pets don’t mind, especially when they’re distracted with love and treats.
Once your pet has been microchipped, your contact information will be linked to their unique identification number. If your lost pet is found and their chip scanned, the identification number will be used to contact the microchip registration company, who will then contact you. Your personal information is always kept private, but must always be kept up-to-date to provide a link to your missing pet.
In addition to microchipping your pet and ensuring their registration information is current, double check their collar ID tags. These tags can become worn, illegible, or fall off, so keep them in good condition.
#2: Ensure your pet is current on vaccinations
Ideally, your pet should always be up-to-date on their vaccinations, but that’s never more important than when facing a disaster. A pet who is current on vaccinations will be allowed at boarding facilities along an evacuation route. They’ll also have an ample supply of chronic medications and parasite prevention, which can be difficult to find when you’re fleeing the area. By keeping your furry pal in good health through regular wellness care, you can help ensure they’re safe during a disaster.
#3: Assemble an emergency kit for your pet
Avoid rushing around to find pet supplies when you’re trying to evacuate. Assemble in advance an emergency kit that should include:
- A leash, harness, and/or carrier to transport your pet and ensure they don’t escape
- A small toy or two
- A seven-day supply of food and water
- A manual can opener if your pet eats canned food
- Collapsible food and water bowls
- Litter and disposable pans for your cat
- A two-week supply of medications
- A copy of your pet’s medical history, including vaccination records, stored in a waterproof container
- A first aid kit packed with pet-care supplies
- Current photos of you with your pet(s) for easy identification purposes should they get lost
Store your pet’s emergency kit in an easy-care, sturdy container that you can quickly grab and go. And, since you’re stockpiling perishable items, swap out food, water, and medications every few months to ensure freshness.
#4: Create an evacuation plan that includes your pet
Designing a pet-friendly evacuation route in advance is an essential part of your disaster plan, since not all hotels accept pets, and boarding facilities can fill up quickly. When creating an evacuation plan, keep the following tips in mind:
- Include your pet in your evacuation drills so they become used to entering their carrier calmly.
- Know which friends, relatives, and boarding facilities can house pets in an emergency. Ask boarding facilities which vaccinations they require and ensure your pet remains current on those vaccinations and can be boarded at the last minute.
- Although your pets may be more comfortable together, be prepared to house them separately.
- Ask if motels, hotels, or other lodgings will waive their no-pets policy during emergencies. If not, use a website like BringFido to plan a pet-friendly evacuation route. Enter your location and destination and choose lodgings that accommodate pets along your route to ensure your furry pal also has a safe roof over their head.
Go over your evacuation plan with your family to ensure each member knows their role, such as loading up the pets and grabbing the emergency kit.
Ensure your pet is protected against any potential danger by keeping them current on vaccinations. If your furry pal is due for vaccinations or needs medication refills, contact our Somerset Animal Hospital team for an appointment.