June is National Pet Preparedness Month. Now is a great time to get your pets ready in case of an emergency. Preparing a go-bag filled with emergency supplies for each family member is essential, but did you ever consider making one for your pets?
Follow these tips to prepare a go-bag for your pets. Keep it next to the family go-bags, so you can grab them in a hurry if need be. Keep them in a location that is dry and easy to get to, and show everyone in your family where they are in your house.
Supplies, Microchips and Hotels
Regardless of whether a crisis requires us to hunker down or bug out, we need to be ready to take care of our pets.
That means having plenty of emergency pet supplies stockpiled at home. And having a pet bug-out bag ready to grab and go at a moment’s notice.
We should make sure all of our pets are micro-chipped. We’ve seen in recent disasters that people and their pets became separated. A microchip could mean the difference between being reunited with your pet and never seeing them again.
Also, figure out, in advance, which area and out-of-area hotels and motels allow pets. You may need to stay at a hotel temporarily if you bug out.
Pet “Bug Out Bag” Checklist
If you already have a “go bag” or evacuation pack, use this month as an annual reminder to replace old food and medication and to update photos and emergency contact information. If you haven’t created a bag, use this list to help get you started.
- 3-7 days’ worth of dry or canned food (rotating it every two months), 7 days of bottled water (rotate regularly)
- Food/water bowls
- Extra collar, harness, and leash
- Clean up supplies (pet cleaning solution and paper towels)
- Plastic bags (to serve double duty as garbage and poop bags)
- Toys and chews
- Photocopies of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires
- Contact information for local veterinarians, pet friendly hotels and shelters, and out-of-town family members willing to take in your pets
- Recent photo for making lost posters and recent photos of you with your pets in case you need to prove ownership of them.
- First aid kit with pet-specific supplies
Pet Preparedness Do’s and Don’ts
Below are 10 pet preparation do’s and don’ts for you to consider:
- Store enough dry pet food in airtight containers and/or canned pet food to sustain all your pets for at least 72 hours. If you’re able, add to this supply in case the emergency lasts longer.
- Don’t forget to periodically rotate your pet food containers and cans, and your pet water bottles, so the contents don’t go bad before you need them.
- Prepare a pet bug-out bag containing everything your pets will need in case you have to evacuate your home and take them with you. Remember, if it’s too dangerous for you to stay, it’s too dangerous for them as well.
- Never leave a pet outside – loose or tied up – during a storm or other emergency. Tying up a pet outside during a disaster is pretty much a death sentence.
- Keep cats and dogs separated in your home during a crisis. Even if they normally get along fine, the stress could cause them to act more aggressively toward each other than usual.
- Assuming the shelf life is about two months, ask your vet if you can stay a couple of months ahead on your pets’ medicines so you can keep some in a pet bug-out bag and rotate when they are approaching expiration.
- Keep a current list of the hotels and boarding facilities outside your immediate area – including phone numbers – where you might wish to temporarily stay during an emergency that forces you to leave your home. Place your list in your bug-out bag.
- Don’t neglect getting all of your pets micro-chipped. If one goes missing, you’ll never forgive yourself for not having done this.
- Make sure your cellphone number is on a tag attached to your pets’ collars, even if those pets are micro-chipped.
- Put a Rescue Alert Sticker near your front door in case your house is affected by a disaster when you’re not home. That way, rescue workers will know how many pets you have and what types they are.