Pet Disaster Preparedness

Spring has arrived and, along with it, stormy weather. This year’s tornado season is already in full swing, and hopefully many of you have already gathered together your emergency survival kits for your families. For many of us our pets are part of the family, but it can be easy to overlook items that they’d need in a disaster when you are trying to prepare for the worst. What follows is a list of things you should include in your emergency survival kit to ensure that your pet(s) will be safe as well. It is recommended that you have a 3 – 7 day supply of emergency survival items.

  • Food – You can purchase a small bag of food to put in your kit or put the needed amount into an airtight container (it’s recommended that you rotate this out every 2 months). Another option is to get sample bags of your pet’s food. Be sure with all food items that you check the expiration dates and rotate them out as necessary. Also include a food scoop, a bowl for food & water and a can opener if you have canned food in your kit.
  • Water – A good rule of thumb is that a dog needs an ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. This of course will vary according to individual dog, activity level, diet, and weather, but it’s a good estimate for planning.
  • Pet first aid kit – Follow this link to build your pet’s first aid kit: http://www.avma.org/firstaid/supplies.asp
  • Necessary medications – Anything your pet takes to ensure their health and well being – seizure medication, thyroid medicine, insulin, allergy pills, eye drops, etc.
  • Potty aids – Disposable litter boxes, small bag of cat litter, newspaper, puppy pads.
  • Safety – An extra collar and leash for your dog(s), and crates for smaller dogs and for cats. It’s also a good idea to have a towel or blanket on hand to assist in handling animals that are scared.
  • Emergency information – Microchip numbers, vet’s phone number, pictures of your pet(s) (in case you need to make lost posters) and emergency contacts. Unfortunately, not all disaster shelters take pets, so it’s a good idea to find someone who would be willing to take in your pets if necessary. It’s also a good idea to make long term plans for your pet in case anything happens to you.

Be sure to have a backpack or small duffel bag stored with these items in case you need to evacuate – or store them in the bag so it’s all ready to go in case you have to evacuate quickly. Including a toy or an antler in your kit can help your dog feel at ease and work out some nervous energy. While planning for emergencies is never a fun task, once you’ve assembled your kit you’ll feel more at ease knowing that you’ve done what you can to keep your pets safe and sound.

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