National Disaster Preparedness Month

Pet Health and Safety  •   Pam Karkow  •   Sep 10, 2015

When I think of a natural disaster occurring, I think of how I will get my family to safety.  I imagine water bottles, snacks, blankets, and medical supplies.  This month has put something else at the forefront of my mind.  How will I keep my dog safe should disaster strike?

September is National Disaster Preparedness Month.  This is a good time to identify what you would need in order to take care of your pet, should you have to evacuate your house in a hurry.  Make a list of the items your pet could not live without, grab a large, preferably clear container, and get to work preparing an emergency kit for your furry child.

Here are some items you don’t want to forget:

  • bottled water
  • food (at least three days’ worth)
  • bowls
  • litter
  • leash and/or crate
  • required medications
  • vet records including vaccinations
  • current picture and/or description of your pet(s)
  • veterinary first aid kit
  • security items (bedding or toys to help ease stress)

Once you have packed your container with all these goodies, place it in an easy to reach spot. Mine is on a shelf in our mud room.  Easy to reach, but not so accessible that I find myself “borrowing” items out of it when I am in a pinch.  I also made a list of the items above on an index card and slipped it in the container so that I can check its contents from time to time, and replenish and/or update as needed.

As I try to imagine what it would be like at my house in the event of a flood, or a tornado, or another type of emergency, I picture my sweet dog, Summer, panicked and afraid.  She tends to run away or hide in a corner when she is scared.  It is a terrible mental image, but one that has driven me to keep a few more things in mind, to make sure I am completely prepared.

  1. ID your pet.  Make sure your pet wears a collar with current ID tags at all times. It’s hard to know how your pet will react in an emergency, and if he/she runs away, proper identification is important. 
  2. Know your pet’s location.  Does your pet have a favorite hiding spot when he/she is scared?  Know where that spot is so you or a family member can retrieve your pet quickly should you need to leave in a hurry.  
  3. Notify others that there is a pet or pets in your home.  Emergency personnel should be alerted somehow by a window cling or other notification so that they can account for the animals living in your home. Here is a link for a set of 2 for $5.95.

Are you ready to make your Pet Emergency Kit?  I can think of no better time than the present.  Your four-legged friends will thank you.

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