Before Disaster Strikes
Protect your pet’s life by taking these precautions
- Place an out-of-state contact name and number, along with your own on your pet’s ID tag. Also known as: I.C.E. (In Case of Emergency)
- Have your pet’s health certificate and a photo handy at all times to prove ownership if you’re separated from your pet during a disaster
- Keep your pet’s vaccinations up-to-date in case you have to board your pet or leave the state
- Purchase a leash and a portable carrier large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around in
- Create a list of boarding facilities within a 100-mile radius of your home, and a list of nearby hotels that accept pets and under what circumstances
- Ask your local animal shelter if they have an evacuation plan for animals and if they’d be able to care for your specific type of pet during an emergency
- List friends and relatives who could care for your pet for an extended period of time if you lose your home
- Take your pet with you. If you must evacuate your house, do not leave your pet behind. If it is unsafe for you to remain, then it is unsafe for your pet as well
Sometimes it becomes necessary to have a back-up plan in the advent of an emergency. While most people are aware of what is needed for them, have they also thought about what pets might need in order to survive too?
The following link goes to a website that deals with just about all kinds of emergencies; it is dedicated to alerting people as to what to do, where to go and what is needed. among this is a great section on pets. Check out the link at: http://www.72hours.org
Most disaster shelters cannot accept pets because of health and safety regulations. Service animals for people with disabilities are an exception.
- Arrange for a neighbor to check on your pets and take care of them if a disaster occurs while you are not at home.
- Plan ahead for a friend or relative outside the affected area to shelter your animals if necessary.
- Keep your pet’s ID tags up to date. Consider having your pet micro-chipped
Make a disaster Go-bag for each of your pets. Include the following:
- Sturdy leashes and/or carriers to transport pets. Animal shelters may require owners to provide a pet carrier for each animal.
- Current photos of your pets in case they get lost.
- Bowls, cat litter and pan, plastic bags, can opener and pet toys.
- Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, immunization records and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets.
- Bring all pets into the house so that you won’t have to search for them if you have to leave in a hurry.
- Do not try and hold onto your pet during the shaking of an earthquake or explosion. Animals instinctively protect themselves and hide where they are safe.
- Animals react differently under stress. Outside your home and in the car, keep dogs securely leashed. Transport cats in carriers. The most trustworthy pets may panic, hide, and try to escape or even bite or scratch.
- When you return home, give your pets time to settle back into their routines. Consult your veterinarian if any behavioral problems persist.
Be sure to have a first aid kit with you when you take your pup on a hiking or camping trip, or when you leave your pet in the care of others. This is what the Marin Humane Society recommends for a well-stocked first aid kit for your pet (name brand products are capitalized):
- Lots of bandages:
- Clinging gauze rolls2-inch square compression pads
- rolled cotton batting to apply to a splint and clean ears
- 1-inch bandage tape
- 2-inch elastic tape
- Telfa pads for wounds
- small scissors, nice and sharp
- nail clippers
- bulb syringe
- nitrate strips or styptic powder for nails
- Benadryl (if your dog is allergic to bee sting)
- antibiotic ointments for small wounds
- hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting as well as for cleaning of deep wounds
- Betadine for cleaning deep wounds
- ear cleaning solutions such as ChlorhexiDerm, Epi-otic, Nolvasan
- eye wash solutions (saline/any contact lens solution)
- K-Y Jelly-water soluble
- any special medications prescribed by your vet
Remember: Whenever you notice any changes in your pet’s demeanor, behavior, or routines, contact your vet for advice.