Natural Disaster Preparedness for Pets

As the first day of summer approaches, so does hurricane season. June is National Pet Preparedness Month, which urges people with pets to make preparations in case they should be hit with a natural disaster. In these types of situations that often come with little warning, preparation is key to ensuring the safety and security of loved ones, including your pet.

  1. Pack a Pet Emergency Kit – Having a pre-packed “go bag” for your pet can be crucial during an emergency; here are the most essential items to remember:
  • Proof of vaccinations – Important to have so your pet can stay at a shelter or hotel in case of evacuation.
  • Bottled water – Have enough water for you, your family and pets. Never allow pets to drink tap water immediately after a storm as there could be an abundance of chemicals and bacteria.
  • Food – Pack at least 1 weeks’ worth of food, treats and dog bowl. If you use canned food, don’t forget a can opener.
  • Medication – Pack at least 1 weeks’ worth of medication with clear instructions of administration.
  • Toys/Blankets –Comfort items like a chew toy and a familiar blanket can keep your pet calm during an emergency, and therefore less likely to act erratically/run off.
  • Leash/Collar – For your pet’s safety, always have a leash and collar on-hand.
  1. Have a Safe Haven – If you are away or cannot get to your pet when disaster strikes, find a local dog day care, friend or pet sitter that can reach your pet. You never want to leave a pet behind in an emergency as they often cannot protect themselves or may end up getting lost. Try and make plans ahead of time to evacuate to somewhere like a pet-friendly hotel or a friend or family’s home that is out of the affected area.

  1. Make Sure Vaccinations are Up to Date – In the event that your pet needs to stay at a shelter, important documents pertaining to vaccinations or medications are crucial. Ensure their vaccinations (including Bordetella) are up to date so you don’t have any issues leaving your pet in a safe place.

  1. Microchip Your Pet – Even when you first get your pet, getting a microchip could be the difference between keeping him/her safe and making them a stray. Microchips allow for veterinarians to scan lost animals to determine their identity so that they are safely returned home. It is important to ensure that your microchip is registered and up to date so if your pet is lost, the correct information is accessible to whoever recovers your pet.
  1. Make Fido Feel at Home – Like humans, pets become stressed when their safety is at risk. Whether you are waiting out a storm or relocating to a different area, be sure to bring their favorite toys and a comfortable bed or crate for proper security. If your pet is prone to anxiety, stress-relieving products, like a dog anxiety vest or natural stress-relieving medication/spray can help ease them in times of emergency.
  1. Identifying Information – If your pet is lost or runs away during an emergency, bring and be able to provide information that will help others find him/her like recent photos, behavioral characteristics or traits. These can help others identify your pet and return them safely to you.
  1. Rescue Alert Sticker – Put a rescue alert sticker on your home to let people know there are pets inside your home. If you are able to take your pets with you, cross out the sticker and put “evacuated” or some other words to let rescue workers know that your pet is safely out of your home.
  1. Ease Pets Back Home – Don’t allow Fido to run back into your home or even through your neighborhood once you and your family have returned. Your once familiar home could be disheveled and/or changed, and this can potentially disorient and stress your pet. Keep your pet on a leash and safely ease him/her back home. Make sure they are not eating or picking up anything that could potentially be dangerous, such as downed wires or contaminated water.