Flash flooding, tornadoes, fires, ice storms and power outages, all disasters you need to be prepare for, yet hope never happen. Do you have a plan in place for you and your family when that happens? Does that plan include your pet? When it comes to a disaster, the same rules apply to people and pets: planning ahead of time can save your life and the life of your pet.
Including your pet in your emergency preparedness plan is important. If you have to leave your home for an undetermined amount of time, your pet will need food, water and shelter. Always plan to take your pet with you or have arrangements made ahead of time for your pet’s safe keeping.
Planning and preparation for your family and your pet needs to be in place long before the disaster strikes. It can be done in three simple steps:
This part of the emergency preparedness plan is the most overwhelming but sets the stage for all the other steps. A few things to do now include:
Get your pet’s identification in place. Options for pet identification include:
- Facial recognition for pets is now available. This advanced technology by PiP is revolutionizing the process for finding lost pets. Photos of found pets uploaded to the PiP app are analyzed and matched with photos of pets identified as lost. When a pet’s photo and uniquely identifying features are registered in the system, PiP can quickly determine a match between a lost pet and any found pet in the area.
- Microchipping your pet and having your contact information up to date.
- Having your pet wear a properly-fitted collar with imprinted tags with your contact information (cell phone is recommended)
Put together a disaster kit with supplies you need. This should include:
- Food and drinking water for up to 48 hours for each pet, and a bowl for each.
- Litter for your cat.
- Any medications your pet takes on a regular basis.'
- If possible, include a toy or blanket your pet finds comforting. This may help with nervous energy or calming them in scary or unfamiliar situations.
Seek out safe shelter options that are pet-friendly ahead of time.
- Call hotels and ask about their pet policy. In times of disaster, their policies may be flexible, so keep numbers in your emergency kit. A great resource to use is Pet Friendly Hotel Search
- Can you pet stay with a friend or family for a short time? Many friends and family want to help. Maybe keeping your cat or dog for a short time is their way of being of service. It never hurts to ask.
- Consider a kennel for a short time if necessary. Knowing your pet is safe and being well taken care of while you deal with other priorities will be one less thing for you to worry about.
- A shelter may be able to assist you with foster care partners as another option.
When disaster strikes, it is time to put your plan into place! A few things to keep in mind:
- If you evacuate, take your pet with you. If it isn’t safe for you in your home, it isn’t safe for your pet either.
- If you stay at home, keep safety in mind for everyone including your pet. Close off unsafe areas of the house or move hazardous items out of your pet’s reach.
- After the disaster, continue to be cautious. Don’t allow your pet to roam in damaged areas. Debris scattered about may cause injuries to paws, legs, even their face.
Finally, post-disaster side effects may linger for both you and your pet.
Future storms or stressful situations may make your pet anxious or cause them to act abnormal. Keep this in mind and work with your pet during these times. Comforting them or allowing them to be in their safe spot in the house may be best. Don’t escalate the situation by becoming loud or scolding your pet for their actions.
Additional resources that may help you with planning your disaster preparedness plan can be found on the FEMA website.
In the meantime, consider investing in a dog or cat insurance policy to protect your furry family members.