At the Ready: Preparing Your Pet for the Unexpected
By Diane Krueger
If a natural disaster or similar emergency were to strike, are you prepared for your pet? If you’re like most of us, then probably not. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be. June is National Pet Preparedness Month and there are several steps you can take today to plan for such unforeseen events so that you won’t be scrambling as much in the moment.
Step 1: Identification – Sounds simple and straightforward, right? Well, sometimes we overlook the basics. Is your pet’s tag easy to read or is it worn? Is the information on it still correct? Does the phone number on it correspond to a landline or cell? If your pet is microchipped, that’s something that should be on its tag. In fact, if your pet isn’t microchipped, that’s something to consider doing. It’s a simple procedure and could provide another useful tool to track your pet if it ever got lost in such an emergency situation. If your pet is microchipped, make sure its information is updated with the chip tracking provider with which you registered.
Step 2: Contact Info – Make sure you have your pet’s contacts stored in your phone. This should include your veterinarian’s contact information, the contact information for a nearby emergency vet, a pet-friendly hotel, the number for the Pet Poison Helpline and an updated photo of your pet. These are little things that might be stored on the ‘fridge or on a computer or elsewhere around the house, but should be accessible in your phone in the event you have to evacuate and/or lose internet service during the emergency.
Step 3: Make a Kit – You’ll want to have a survival kit at the ready that you can grab and go if need be. The kit should include several days’ worth of your pet’s food, water, medications, poop bags, flea and tick treatment, an extra leash, blanket, toy, some treats, as well as a copy of your pet’s veterinary records. Your kit should also have some basic medical supplies like bandages, tape, scissors, antibiotic ointment, latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution.
Step 4: Communicate – Once you’ve updated the identification, contact information and prepared a kit, you need to communicate your plan with others. For example, your dog walker or pet sitter should know where the kit is in case disaster strikes while they are with your pet. Share your pet’s contact information with them too so they know who to go to if needed. In addition, it’s a good idea to have a sticker on your home’s entrances that alert first responders of the fact that you have pets and how many you have. You can get a sticker free online at www.aspca.org. If you do have to evacuate and you have time, be sure to mark on the sticker that you evacuated so responders know your pet is not inside.
Thinking about such disastrous events is not something that’s easy to do. But planning for you and your pet in circumstances such as these can go a long way in easing some of the fear, anxiety and confusion that arise in trying times.