We all know that disasters can strike at any time, or any place, but we typically prefer not to dwell on these things daily. After all, it’s unlikely that you will become a victim of a natural disaster or other emergency on any given day, and living in fear isn’t very productive.
On the other hand, these things do happen. That’s why creating a disaster preparedness plan is important for everyone, even if you probably won’t ever need to use it. For pet owners, your plan will also include your furry (or scaly, or feathery) friends. You certainly don’t want to leave them behind in the event of an emergency.
So, how do you protect your pet in a natural disaster?
Get them microchipped. Even with the best of emergency plans, pet owners are frequently separated from their pets during natural disasters. These pets sometimes turn up at shelters weeks or even months later, and searching for them can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. If they’re microchipped, however, reunification is simple. All vets or shelters who receive stray pets will check for a microchip, and call you right away if your pet is found.
Notify first responders. If you place stickers on your home or car windows, regarding the number of occupants, include your pets. In a very serious fire, there is no guarantee a firefighter will be able to rescue your pet, but knowing of their presence can increase those odds.
Reinforce your boundaries. Frightened animals often attempt to hide or flee during an emergency. Make sure your home’s fence is secure, and use a safe carrier in the car. In the event of a more predictable disaster, such as storms or wildfire nearby, lock the pet door while you make a decision about taking shelter or evacuating.
Plan ahead for lodging. Most emergency shelters do not allow pets, so plan ahead for disaster situations. Learn the locations of nearby hotels that allow pets (or relax their rules during emergencies), or ask friends and family whether you can take shelter in their home during an emergency. Do be specific about your plans to bring your pets.
Pack an emergency bag. Pack a bag containing a week’s worth of pet food, bottled water, a spare leash, and other necessary supplies. Keep this bag handy so that you can grab it and go.
Keep our number handy. Program our number into your contacts (data signals can be slow or stall out during emergencies). Call us if your pet is sick or injured, or you have any other questions regarding their health during an emergency.