Pet Care – What will happen when disaster strikes?
When you live through a disaster, the physical and emotional trauma is usually worse than you could ever imagine. It’s equally traumatic for your beloved family pet. They have the added anxieties of not understanding what’s going on and having no control over what happens to them.
Hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, floods, and other disasters usually occur without warning and they’re scary for humans and pets. When an event is life-threatening, you evacuate suddenly and seek immediate shelter. If there’s only enough time to take care of the humans in the family, pets often get left out of the loop.
While your pet might never have endured such a disheartening experience, you’ve likely seen abandoned animals in public service announcements. To make sure your pet doesn’t get left behind during a disaster, you must prepare ahead of time.
Create a Disaster Plan
Your plan should be comprehensive, flexible, and simple so that everyone in the family understands what to do. It must include a speedy method for rounding up family members, pets, and emergency supplies and exiting your home safely. If you must alter your plan, you should advise everyone ahead of time.
Create an Emergency Pet Care Kit
The FEMA website, Ready.gov shares tips for preparing emergency kits. Your family’s kit should include food, water, and other emergency supplies. You should enclose your items in plastic to keep them dry and store them in an easily accessible container or backpack.
You should prepare a similar kit for your pets. Minimally, your pet’s emergency kit should include food, water, identification, a collar, a leash, toys, bedding, medication, sanitation supplies (litter box, doggie poo bags), and cleaning supplies.
For ease, you can order pre-packaged pet emergency kits online. Most have three days of emergency supplies. For cost-efficiency, FEMA suggests that you buy a few extra supplies for your emergency kits each time you do your regular shopping. For more information about emergency pet care kits, visit Ready.Gov/pets.
Buy a Pet Carrier
When you’re making a rapid evacuation, a pet carrier may be more of a hassle than a convenience. One factor to consider is that a carrier will help you keep a small animal safe and under control.
Pet Rescue Stickers Probably Won’t Help
Some animal organizations offer window-mounted “Please Save Our Pet” stickers. They advise rescue teams that a pet is inside a home and might require help. While this seems like a good idea, several firefighters in an online forum agreed that stickers don’t affect how they perform rescue operations. They focus on people first and won’t risk injury or death to rescue an animal. They suggest that pet owners shouldn’t rely on stickers to help save their pets.
Research Pet-Friendly Shelters
If your family must stay at an emergency shelter, there’s a possibility that they won’t accept your pet. You can eliminate this potential problem by doing your research ahead of time. The website Petswelcome.com provides information for animal lovers who need a place to stay that also welcomes their pets. Pets welcome provides links to hotels and shelters, and also pet-friendly evacuation routes.
Consider Pet Finder Technology
Despite your best preparation efforts, there’s always a chance that you’ll lose track of your pet. To deal with that possibility ahead of time, consider pet-tracking technology. An implanted microchip, wearable device or trackable collar gives you options for relocating your pet once the disaster passes.
Talk to Your Veterinarian
If you need more information about disaster-preparedness and pet care, visit our contact us page or call Hebron Veterinary Hospital at (860) 228-4324.