May is Emergency Preparedness Month. This piece I wrote (and updated from a previous post) originally appeared on the OSPCA blog where I have done some guest writing and they have other helpful info as well. I wanted to share this here as well as a means of getting critical information out to help inform pet owners.
Be Prepared: Not Just a Boy Scout Motto
There’s never a good time for an emergency and they can always happen without notice. If you’re lucky, you might get some warning about a catastrophe coming (think severe winter storm in the forecast or a hurricane). The remainder of the time though you need to be ready to take care of yourself & your pets at least for a few days until help can be received.
Let’s take a look at what you should have prepared for your pets:
- 3-5 day supply of food & water; don’t forget the bowls & a manual can opener if necessary.
- At least a 1 week supply of medications plus their instructions – the info & extras are in case of a dropped dose, vomited up, or if you need to get more.
- Leash, collar/harness, and if necessary a muzzle for your dog – this can help avoid accidents by pets going places they shouldn’t be.
- A spacious carrier for your cats – especially in the case of needing to stay in a shelter.
- Location of shelters or hotels that you can stay at with your pets or in the worst cases, pre-arranged boarding locations – not every place will let your pets in.
- Get a microchip implanted AND update your contact info – this can be done at almost any clinic or shelter and if you get separated you can be reunited with your pet.
- Current copies of vaccination records, name of your veterinary clinic, & records especially if they have any chronic medical conditions – also helpful to keep a picture of your pet for identification purposes.
- Comfort items – toys, blankets, special treats, catnip!
- Poop bags & cat litter with pan – you still need to clean up after all and disasters are often a time when infectious diseases can be spread.
What about the circumstances if you can’t take your pets with you? This is a horrifying thought most certainly none of us ever want to encounter. If it should be necessary to evacuate and leave pets behind, make sure the house is closed but put a sign in a visible window with info about the pets and your contact info. Do not confine them in a cage either in case they need to get out of a room.
Hopefully you never need to experience a disaster that requires you to need these things. But if you do, plan ahead and be prepared to care for your pets. If you’ve been involved in an emergency situation or can think of anything else to pack, leave a note in the comments. Stay safe!
Disclaimer: All blog posts are my own and do not reflect the opinions of my current or former employers.