With news of natural disasters flooding our feed these past few months, pet owners are growing more concerned about the welfare of animals being left behind by families as they evacuate for safety. What should pet owners do once a natural calamity hits the locality? It is unfortunate to think that, according to several news reports, many pet owners are unsure of what action they would take if ever faced with such a situation.
Don’t be caught off guard when a disaster strikes. Before you face the tragedy brought about by hurricanes, earthquakes, storms, tornadoes, wildfires, or volcanic eruptions, take it upon yourself to be prepared, and actually prepared enough to evacuate with your pet.
Natural Disaster Tips for Pet Owners
Know the natural disasters your region is prone to.
Is your locality prone to hurricanes? What about tornadoes, blizzards, or wildfires? Most regions have “native” disasters that occur more often than others. Identifying your area’s most common natural disasters allows you to prepare accordingly. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, for example, check your property’s elevation level and flood history. It’s also smart to get familiar with local evacuation routes. This helps you build a more effective plan for you and your pet.
Make a pet evacuation plan.
In times of disasters, every minute counts! Identify pet-friendly evacuation shelters in advance, if possible, so you can stay together. If there aren’t shelters nearby, other options include your veterinarian’s office, pet-friendly hotels, boarding facilities, or a trusted friend’s house. List down several options available in your area so you don’t waste precious time making calls and waiting for people to pick up.
Stock a pet emergency kit.
Don’t wait until the last minute to gather everything your pet might need in an emergency. The American Red Cross, the Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and FEMA (Department of Homeland Security) all recommend having a disaster travel kit readily available for your pet. Keep a bag filled with necessary items in an accessible area so you can quickly grab the bag when disaster strikes.
Your emergency kit should include the following essentials:
- Food good for five days
- Feeding bowls
- Water bowls
- Bottles of water
- Collar with ID tags, leash, rope, and/or harness
- Proof of ownership documents
- Pet’s medical records
- Pet medications
- Pet toys
- Garbage bags
- Litter box
- Waste cleanup supplies
- Pet’s photos
- Pet life jacket and paw protectors
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Basic pet first-aid kit
- List of emergency numbers
Evaluate this pet emergency kit every year. Routinely replace expired medication and supplies.
Update your pet’s identification every year.
Make sure documents are up-to-date, or else they’ll be useless once you need them. If your dog or cat has a microchip, make sure your contact information—including your address and phone number—is still correct. Many pet parents forget to update this information when they move or change phone providers. If your pet doesn’t have a microchip, double-check the information on your pet’s collar tag so that someone can reach you if your pet becomes lost.
Create a plan B if you’re out of town when the disaster happens.
Not only should you have a pet evacuation plan in place; you also need a plan B if the calamity occurs when you’re not at home with your pet. Identify fellow pet parents in your community and family so you can agree to help one another out during an emergency. This way, fellow pet owners can act as the first line of defense to rescue your pets. Provide these important people with your pet’s name, your telephone number, and an evacuation plan for your pets.
Don’t forget to add their contact numbers to your emergency contact list as someone who’s authorized to approve emergency medical care in your absence. Also alert these people to the location of your pet emergency kit.
To ensure your pet’s safety better, equip them with quality GPS trackers like Trackidog. Trackidog is a tiny tracking device that allows you to see your pet’s whereabouts in real time. You won’t have to worry anymore where your pets have gone in the event of a natural disaster. You can track and locate your dog anytime from an app via your smartphone.