It’s National Pet Preparedness Month, and with it being the season for natural disasters like flooding, tornadoes and hurricanes, it’s vital to be sure you have your pet included in your disaster plans. Use these tips to discuss and plan the best strategy for your family to keep everyone safe in case of an emergency!
Make Your Pet a “Go Bag”
There are many things needed to keep a pet healthy in an emergency situation where survival skills and kits may be required. Having a “go bag” or evacuation kit lets you have a peace of mind that you have everything together and don’t have to scramble around finding important documents and supplies for your pet.
To start a “go bag” these are some essentials:
- 7 days’ worth of food (canned or dry and remember to rotate out with newer food)
- 7 days’ worth of bottled water (rotate for freshness)
- Medication (a 2-week supply and rotate for expiration)
- Food and water bowls
- Plastic bags
- Litter (for cats)
- Cleaning supplies
- Extra collar, leash or harness
- Blankets and towels
- Toys and treats
- Pet carrier
- Pet First Aid kit
- Copies of medical records
- Contact Information
- Pet owner (include address, cell phone number, and any other relevant information)
- Local veterinarian
- Family members (both in and out of town)
If you already have an evacuation kit ready for your family and furry friends, use this preparedness month to swap out old supplies and update any necessary information.
Arrange Safe Places in Advance
Know where to go before an emergency hits to make sure everyone is on the same page. Find places outside of the area where you can stay with your animals. It’s vital to remember that not every shelter will accept pets. Knowing what boarding facilities and hotels allow animals can help ease some stress when looking for a place to stay or place your pet. Having family members that can take in your animals if you are displaced from a natural disaster is also something to define before that moment happens. Remember to not leave pets behind in these situations, and if it’s dangerous for you to stay somewhere, then it is the same for your pets!
Find designated caregivers for your animals in case you aren’t home at the time of an emergency or natural disaster. Think of someone that lives close by for easy access to your home and someone who can be trusted to recuse your pet if they need to evacuate the area quickly. Let them know your emergency plans and give them a rundown on where they can find your “go bag” for all your pet’s essentials.
What to Do if You Are Separated
In the event that you are separated from or lose track of your pet, knowing the phone numbers to your local animal shelters, humane societies and animal welfare groups can help you reunite with your pet much quicker if they are found by one of these groups. Keep recent photos of your pets in case you need to make a lost poster or to show volunteers the pet you may be looking for.
This month is also National Microchipping Month! Microchipping your animals is an effective way to increase the chance of your pet being reunited with your family in the event they get separated, lost, or even run away. This small device is only about the size of a grain of rice and is placed between your pet’s shoulder blades under the loose skin. When scanned, this microchip can pull up information on the pet’s owner to help reunite them. The great thing about microchips is that they can’t be removed or even fall off of your pet, so it’s like a permanent ID. According to American Kennel Club Reunite, “Pets with microchips are up to 20 times more likely to be reunited with their owners.” That’s why it’s essential to have this simple and inexpensive procedure done to your pet, and if a microchip already been placed, ensuring your information is up to date annually is necessary as well.
Interested in getting your pet a microchip to ensure they can be identified if scanned into a rescue group or animal shelter in the face of an emergency? Texas Humane Heroes offers low-cost clinic services at both our Leander and Killen locations that include microchipping, and its registration!