Summer is a wonderful time, but can hold some extreme dangers such as hurricanes. Every year, families lose their pets in weather-related emergencies, and while some are reunited, other families search in vain for years. Here are some tips on preparing for emergencies, to make sure everyone is unscathed.
Prepare in advance
Make sure all pets are microchipped, and that the information connected to the microchip is correct. Your vet can help you read the chip number, so you can double-check. Put a tag with your contact information on each pet’s collar.
If you don’t already have decals on your windows informing rescue workers that there are pets in the household, this is a good time to put some up.
Check your emergency kit
If you already have a pet emergency kit, look it over to make sure everything is up to date. If you don’t have one, make one, and keep it with your family’s emergency kit. Pack things in plastic zip-lock bags. Good ideas for your kit include:
- At least two weeks’ supply of any pet medications.
- Extra collar with ID-tag for each pet, and sturdy leashes.
- Photocopies of pet health records, and a recent photo of you and your pets. In case the worst happens and you’re separated the photo will help you search, and help you prove that you’re the rightful owner.
- Two week supply of water and food along with bowls.
- First aid supplies. Many vets have good lists of things you might need. You should at least have bandages, tweezers, tape, scissors, and antibacterial ointment.
- Crate with bedding and a toy your pet will recognize. This can help your pet cope with stress and new environments.
- Poop bags and similar supplies.
Have a plan
When something happens it usually happens quickly, and it can be difficult to make the right decisions in a stressful situation. The more you prepare in advance, the better your chances of everyone staying together and being okay.
Know where to go if you need to evacuate. If you need to leave your home, do everything in your power to bring your pets along. If it isn’t safe for you to stay, it isn’t safe for them, and animals left behind are often lost, injured, or killed.
Check emergency shelters in your area. Many don’t allow pets, and you need to find one where everyone is welcome. Make a list of relatives and friends that can shelter you and your pets in case you have to leave the area completely. Also make a list of pet boarding facilities, and keep all these numbers and addresses in your pet emergency kit.
If you stay at home during the emergency, keep your pets with you in a safe room. Put them in their carrier or on a leash ahead of time – if there’s a tornado you don’t have time to dig the cat out from under the sofa. On a leash or in a carrier you can bring your pets quickly, and you have them under control.
It can be difficult to stay calm, but do your best to keep your composure. If you’re anxious, pets and children will feel it and be anxious too.