Pet parents can ensure the survival of their pets in an emergency by having – and practicing – a good disaster survival plan.
Recent events highlight that you need to have a plan for your pets in the event of an emergency. Evacuation plans need to also include your pets! Some emergency examples include evacuation of your home because of a fire, evacuation of your neighborhood because of flooding, or sheltering in place because of a tornado. You can’t prepare for every possibility, but there are some things that you should have ready to go.
Here’s a quick checklist of items you should have prepared.
- Do you have easy access to a carrier for cats or other small pets?
- Do you have a leash for your dog?
- Are your pets easily identified with a collar and tags or a microchip? This is especially important if you need to find them after the emergency.
- Do you have a place to go or loved ones that will accept your pet if you can’t return home for a while?
- Do you have food and other essentials, including any medications that the pet might need?
Don’t wait until an emergency happens to put your plan into action. Remember that if you are distressed, your pets probably will be too, and they may not be as cooperative as you are used to when disaster hits. That’s why leashes and/or carriers are necessary.
Gather things up and make sure that everyone is safe, but don’t waste time searching for that one favorite blanket. Consider having some things in your safe place that may help to calm your pets – maybe a favorite toy or a treat.
Having a good plan in place and following these simple tips will help both pets and their pet parents survive an emergency.
Elizabeth Spangler, DVM
Dr. Spangler earned her DVM from the University of California, completed a residency in Small Animal Internal Medicine and then a residency in Clinical Pathology. She was on the faculty at Auburn University for 17 years, and recently retired from that position. She is a writer/contributor for Ellie Diagnostics and is always supervised by at least one cat.