Are You and Your Pets Prepared for a National Disaster?

May 14th is Animal Disaster Preparedness Day.  Do you have a plan in place?  If you’d like your pets to fare as well as possible in the event of a disaster, read on! I'm about to share some important safety tips for protecting you and your furry family members from danger.

  • Get a free Rescue Alert sticker from the ASPCA.  Fill out the online form and wait 6 to 8 weeks for delivery.  The Rescue Alert sticker has three types of information on it.  First, it refers to the types and number of pets you have in your home.  Next, it has a place for you to write in your veterinarian’s name.  Last, it has a place to put your vet’s number.  Be sure to put the sticker on the front door of your home or on a front facing window where rescuers can see it.
  • Keep up-to-date photos and copies of your pet’s medical history as well as their microchip number in a place where you can get to them easily.  This will allow you to search for your pet if he or she goes missing after a natural disaster.  Put all your documents in a waterproof file just in case of inclement weather.
  • Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the case of evacuation.  The ASPCA warns that if it isn’t safe for you, it won’t be safe for your dogs or cats either.  Make arrangements for your pets to stay with someone you trust if you are not permitted to bring them with you immediately.  If this isn’t possible, know that all Red Cross disaster shelters can accommodate domestic animals.
  • Keep emergency supplies for your pets in a kit that you can travel with.  You’re likely to have an emergency kit for yourself in the event of a disaster.  Why wouldn’t you have one for your dog or cat?  Make sure it’s fully stocked with the a first-aid kit and guidebook for animals, a 3 to 7 day supply of canned or dry pet food, disposable litter trays and litter, liquid soap and disinfectant, trash bags, feeding dishes, collars and leashes, a 7 day supply of bottled water, a carrier for each pet, blankets, and a flashlight with extra batteries.
  • Carefully consider your evacuation route. Take into consideration geographic and climatic conditions.  You want to leave your home when it’s safe to do so.  If there is structural damage, you’ll need to be calm and collected as you exit.  That’s why it’s so important to have the things you and your pet need at the door so you can grab them on your way out of your home or apartment.
  • Birds, fish, reptiles, small animals... No matter what type of pet you have, make a plan and be prepared!

By taking the steps necessary to provide for you and your pets during a disaster, you can eliminate many of the stresses that occur due to lack of supplies and poor planning.  Be sure to adapt your escape plan for the changing seasons and be sure to let your family members, friends and neighbors know of your intentions in the event of a disaster.  It’s better to be safe than sorry…