Emergencies come in many forms: fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, violent storms, and more. In the event of extreme weather or a natural disaster, would you know what to do to protect your pet? Leaving pets out of emergency plans can put you, your pets, and first responders in danger. In an emergency, your pets will be even more dependent on you for their safety and well-being. Keep on reading to learn what you should do to keep your beloved pets safe!
Have a Plan
The best way to protect your household from the effects of a disaster is to have a written plan in place. If you are a pet owner, that plan must include your pets; being prepared can save their lives. Below we touch on a couple of steps you can take to prepare.
- Keep a List of Safe Places to Stay – Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to find out if they accept pets. Ask about any restrictions on number, size, and species. Inquire if a “no pet” policy would be waived in the event of a disaster or emergency. Keep a list of these places handy so you can call ahead as soon as you think you may have to leave your home.
- Create a List of Emergency Numbers – When things go wrong you can become stressed and frazzled, resulting in important information being forgotten. By keeping a list of important emergency numbers handy, you’ll never have to worry about remembering something off the top of your head. To start, we recommend having the numbers for your pet’s veterinarian, the closest 24-hour emergency vet clinic, the Pet Poison Helpline, and the Animal Humane Society’s 24/7 pet helpline.
- Have a Backup Caretaker – If you are stuck and cannot get to your pet, make sure there is someone who can. Talk to a trusted neighbor, friend, or family member, and give them a way to access your home or apartment. Make sure this backup caretaker is comfortable and familiar with your pet (and vice versa) and is familiar with their feeding schedule and daily routine.
Make an Emergency Kit
In the event of a disaster, having an emergency kit gives you easy access to everything you need to ensure your pet’s well-being. Stock up on bottled water; there could be harmful chemicals and bacteria in tap water following a disaster. Also, stock up on canned food–don’t forget a can opener–or buy enough pop-top cans to last about a week. First-aid supplies are another great item to pack in your pet’s emergency kit. Having the ability to provide first-aid can help to lessen the impact of your furry friend’s injury if they sustain one, and offer you some relief as well. For a comprehensive list of first-aid supplies, check out one of our previous blogs. Additional items to keep in mind could be a copy of your pet’s vaccine records, favorite toys, a spare leash and collar, and a comfortable bed or blanket.
Keep an “In Case of Emergency Folder”
In an emergency, grabbing a folder is quick and easy, and saves you valuable time. Within the folder, you should have all pertinent information about your pet, including a recent photo, behavioral characteristics, licensing information, and up-to-date vaccination records.
Other Things to Think About
- Rescue Alert Stickers: Put a rescue alert sticker on your front door to let first responders know there are pets inside your home. In an emergency–if you take your pets with you–cross out the sticker and write “evacuated” to let rescue workers know that your pet is safely out of your home.
- Make Sure Your Pet Has ID: Successful pet recovery heavily depends on the animal wearing identification; on average, 48% of dogs are reunited with their owners, while only 19% of cats are. Given these statistics, your pet should wear some form of visible identification that gives good samaritans a quick and easy way to contact you and see that your pet belongs to you. Additionally, a microchip is a no-brainer. Tags and collars can wear away, break, or even fall off; but microchips are forever. Getting your pet microchipped could be the difference between being reunited and being lost forever. Microchips allow veterinarians and shelters to scan lost animals, determine who their owner is, and return them home safely. Once your pet has a microchip, ensure that it’s registered and your contact information is updated whenever you have an address, email, or phone number change.
- Let Pets Adjust: Don’t allow your pet to run back into your home once you and your family have returned. Your home could be disheveled and things might look or smell different; these changes can potentially disorient or stress your pet. Instead, keep them close so you can safely and slowly ease them back into your home and their normal routine.
Your Pets are our Priority!
At the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC), our number one priority is to promote the health and well-being of your pets. That is why we created the NASC Audit Program and the Quality Seal, which helps you identify animal health and nutritional supplements that come from responsible suppliers committed to producing the highest quality, most consistent products available. Visit our website to learn more and to see a list of NASC members who have earned the Quality Seal.