If there is anything the Father’s Day floods last summer taught us, it’s that you can never be too prepared. Having a plan in place should a disaster occur can save lives and make your life easier in an already stressful time.
Things to do ahead of time:
- Have Proper Identification
- Microchips are great because unlike tags, they can’t fall off. A microchip is a small device that is implanted under the skin in a similar manner to a vaccine. Unfortunately GPS trackers like this are not available yet, but if your pet ends up at a vet clinic or animal shelter a microchip can help them get your pet back to you. They scan your pet with a microchip scanner and a number pops up. They can use that number to get your information. If you move or change your number make sure you update it with your new information.
- Tags are also very helpful. It gives the finder immediate access to your information! Make sure you include your contact information on the tag. If your pet has any medical issues, you can also include that information on a tag as well. Again, be sure that if you move or change your phone number to get a new tag with the updated information.
- Keep recent photos of your pet on hand. These are handy for posting if your pet gets lost, and can also help identify and prove ownership of your pet should they end up at a shelter, vet clinic, etc.
- Put a sign on your door identifying how many pets you have. If there is a fire or emergency services are at your home they know how many animals they should be looking for. You can get a free Pet Safety Pack including one of these signs from the ASPCA.
- Even if you rarely have your dog on a leash and they are great about staying with you, make sure they are at least leash trained. In an emergency situation it can be crucial that you are able to keep your dog with you. Carriers are another great option, especially if you have a small dog.
- Make sure your cat is okay with being in a carrier. Leave it open in an area they can access, so they are able to check it out. The last thing you want is to already be in a stressful situation and have your cat freaking out because they are in a carrier.
- Create a Plan
- Know what sorts of disasters are possible in your area. This can help you know how to plan.
- Where to go
- Do you have a friend or family member you could stay with if something happened?
- Is there a boarding facility you could bring your pets to? Knowing ahead of time options of where you could bring your pet in an emergency is yet another way you can save yourself some stress in an extremely tough time.
- Know of a couple pet friendly hotels where you could stay with your pet.
- Know where your local animal shelter is, and maybe even have their contact info saved should your pet end up there.
- Create a backup plan and get other people involved in case you aren’t able to get your pets. Maybe have a neighbor, family member, or friend in the area who can get them and their emergency kit or care for them if you are not able to. Talk to them and see if they are willing to be a part of your emergency plan.
- Get an Emergency Kit together. If you have one double check everything is in there and that food, water bottles, etc are not out of date.
- A few days worth of pet food
- Bottles of water
- Extra leash and collar
- First aid kit
- Litter and litter box
- Poop bags
- Extra meds if needed
- Copy of vet records
- List of pet friendly hotels
- Extra bag of their favorite treats
- If you have an extra of their favorite toy, blanket, etc. that can be a great comfort to them during a trying time.
If conditions aren’t okay for you (too hot, too cold, etc.), then they aren’t okay for your pet. Don’t leave your pets behind!
Should a disaster occur make sure to keep them confined
- Even if your pet is great about staying with you, in a stressful situation they might be more likely to wander off or get spooked and bolt. Keep dogs on a leash, and cats in carriers or confined to a safe space.
Sources and additional information (including information for other types of pets) can be found here: