Prepare in Advance to Care for Your Pets in an Emergency

If we’ve learned anything from the recent storms, natural disasters, and other emergencies, how well you fare and how fast you recover may depend heavily on how well you prepared ahead of time. Before disaster strikes, have a plan for your pets so you can act quickly to save their lives.

Here are some points to consider to ensure the safety of your pets:

– Prepare pets by having them wear I.D. at all times, not just when you leave home.

-Get your pet micro-chipped, or listed in an identification program in the event they are lost.

– Know where emergency animal shelters and facilities are in your area. If for some reason you and your family get evacuated to an emergency shelter, there’s a chance they will not allow you to bring your pets, so you should be aware of alternatives.

– Prepare a pet first aid kit, in case of illness or injury. That’s a great place to keep your pet’s vaccination records, your vet’s contact information, and pictures of your pet in case you need to make posters.
In addition, the pet first aid kit should have these emergency supplies:
– – pet food and a bottle of water
– – your pet’s prescription medicine
– – gauze, bandages, adhesive tape
– – peroxide
– – activated charcoal which will absorb poison if necessary
– – cloths or small towels
– – a muzzle if the dog is large

Here’s what the Humane Societies of the United States (HSUS) recommends that you prepare in case of emergency:

– Have a pet leash and a carrier ready to grab easily. The pet may have to live in the carrier for some time, so make it a sturdy, roomy one.

– Before a disaser strikes, crate train your pets, so they will be less uncomfortable if they have to be in one for an extended period.

– If an emergency happens that involves bleeding, treat it the same way you would a personâÂ?¦ apply even pressure with a clean cloth for at least 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. Don’t keep releasing the pressure to see if the bleeding has stopped, or the blood may not be able to clot. Then get the animal to a vet.

– Bring your pets inside if there is an emergency such as a fire which might make the air unhealthy to breathe.

– If you suspect you may have to evacuate be sure you know where your pets are well in advance. If they sense a disaster approaching, they may hide and be impossible to find when it’s time to leave.

– If you do have to evacuate, don’t leave your pets behind if at all possible. You may believe you will only be gone a few hours, but it’s entirely possible you will not be allowed to return home for many days. If you are forced to evacuate without them, prepare them by leaving them enough food and water for at least a couple of days. Whatever you do, don’t chain or tie the animal. It may be able to save itself through an opening like a window or a fence. But if the animal is tethered, its chances of survival are slight. Leave a note for emergency workers, letting them know how many pets, what type of pets, and where you believe they will be found.

– If there is a strong possibility of an emergency evacuation order, don’t wait till you are forced out, or officials may have to tell you to leave your pets. If you go on your own time, you decide.

– If you get separated from your pets, you should be able to find a listing of animal shelters in your area by logging onto If you visit the shelters and don’t find your pets, keep going back. Animal shelters can be overwhelmed during emergencies and may not have a record of every animal. Also, it may take time for your animal to arrive at the shelter. Don’t give up.

– After a storm or other emergency your pet may get disoriented when it goes outside if familiar smells are gone. Keep them inside for a while, and walk them on leashes if possible. Remember, your pets have no idea what has happened and they may misbehave due to stress. Be patient while they adjust.

Now, while there is time to think clearly, prepare, prepare, prepare.

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