Editor’s note: This is the second installment in a series being printed in September about preparing for emergencies.
Prepare: Get a pet emergency supply kit
Just as you do with your family’s emergency supply kit, think first about the basics for survival, particularly food and water. Consider two kits. In one, put everything you and your pets will need to stay where you are. The other should be a lightweight, smaller version you can take with you if you and your pets need to get away. Review your kits regularly to ensure that their contents, especially foods and medicines, are fresh.
-Food – keep at least three days of food in an airtight waterproof container.
-Water – store at least three days of water specifically for your pets in addition to water you need for yourself and family.
-Medicines and medical records – keep an extra supply of medicines your pet takes on a regular basis in a waterproof container.
-First aid kit – flea & tick prevention, antibiotic ointment, pet first aid book, bandages, tape, disposal gloves.
-Crate or other pet carrier – Sturdy, safe, comfortable crate or carrier. This should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn, and lie down. Your pet may have to stay in the carrier several hours.
-Collar with ID, harness or leash – Pet should wear a collar with its rabies immunization tag at all times. Include a back-up leash, collar & ID tag. Keep vaccination documents & medical records, pets’ registration form information in waterproof container. Consider permanent identification such as microchipping & enrolling your pet in a recovery data base.
-Sanitation – Include pet litter, trash bags and household chlorine beach
-A picture of you and your pet together – if you become separated from your pet during an emergency, a picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you in identifying your pet. Include detailed information about species, breed, age, sex, color & distinguishing characteristics.
-Familiar Items – Put favorite toys, treats or bedding in your kit. Familiar items help reduce stress for your pet.
-Depending on the pet, you may need a litter box, paper towels, plastic trash bags, grooming items.
-If you must evacuate, take your pets with you if possible.
PLAN: What you will do in an emergency
-If you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets.
-Develop a buddy system with relatives, friends and neighbors to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer. Also designate specific locations, one in your immediate neighborhood & another farther away, where you will meet in an emergency.
-Talk to your pet’s veterinarian about emergency planning. Discuss microchipping and/or tattoo. Also enroll your pet in a reliable recovery database. If pet has been microchipped, keeping information up to date & listed with a reliable recovery database is essential to your being reunited with your pet.
-Gather contact information for emergency animal treatment. Obtain “Pets Inside” stickers and place them on your doors or windows. And if time permits, remember to write the words “Evacuated with Pets” across the stickers, should you flee with your pets.
Stay Informed: Visit or download the ASPCA website and or mobile app to access information on what to do with your pet before, during and after a major event. Basic pet emergency kits are also available on line. ASPCA also has a mobile app for missing pets.
Another excellent website is “Saving the Whole Family Disaster Preparedness” American Veterinary Medical Association. They have checklists for Small Animal First Aid Kit, Equine, Livestock, Backyard Poultry/ Birds, Bird, Small Mammals, Reptiles Evacuation Kit information.
Schedule a subject matter expert to speak at your club or agency by calling Champaign Heath District at 937-484-1675 or email [email protected]
Jeanne Bowman is Emergency Preparedness/MRC Coordinator for the Champaign Health District.