We hate to think about something as scary as an earthquake or natural disaster that could hit us any day. While we hope one never occurs, it is always better to be prepared for you and your pets. After all, our pets can not defend or survive on their own. Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected is to assemble an animal emergency supply kit and develop a pet care buddy system, just as in an emergency. Whether you decide to stay put or move to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets.
There are some tips to keep in mind to prepare for an emergency:
Never leave your pets behind
If you evacuate your home, please do not leave your pets behind! Our pets most likely cannot survive on their own and if by some remote chance they do, you may not be able to find them when you return. If you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets; consider loved ones or friends outside of your immediate area who would be willing to host you and your pets in an emergency.
Make a back-up emergency plan in case you can't care for your pets yourself. Develop a system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.
Pet food, bottled water and medications should be taken with you
Take pet food, bottled water, medications, veterinary records, cat litter/pan, manual can opener, food dishes, first aid kit and other supplies with you in case they're not available later. Before you find yourself in an emergency situation, consider packing a "pet survival" kit which could be easily accessed if a disaster hits. Make sure you have a secure pet carrier, leash or harness for your pet so that if your cat or dog panics, he can't escape.
Always have ID tags that are up to date
Make sure identification tags are up-to-date and securely fastened to your pet's collar. If possible, attach the address and/or phone number of your evacuation site. If your pet gets lost, his tag is his ticket home. It is always a good idea to have a current photo of your pet on you or in your wallet for identification purposes.
Items to consider keeping at home in case of an emergency
A week’s worth of canned or dry food (be sure to rotate every two months), disposable litter trays, pet-feeding dishes, an extra collar or harness as well as an extra leash, copies of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires. Bottled water, at least 7 days' worth for each person and pet (store in a cool, dry place and replace every few months is essential as well as a traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet, flashlight, blanket. Scoopable litter is essential for cats; for dogs, an extra leash, toys and chew toys, a week's worth of cage liner.
You should also have an emergency kit for your human family members. Some of the items to include: batteries, duct tape, flashlight, radio, multi-tool, tarp, rope, permanent marker, spray paint, baby wipes, protective clothing and footwear, extra cash, rescue whistle, important phone numbers, extra medication and copies of medical and insurance information.
If you live in an area that is prone to tornadoes, earthquakes or floods, plan accordingly
Make sure to determine well in advance which rooms offer safe havens for you and your pets. These rooms should be clear of hazards such as windows, flying debris, etc. Try to find easy-to-clean areas such as utility rooms, bathrooms, and basements as safe zones. You should always have a access to a supply of fresh water. In areas that may lose electricity, fill up bathtubs and sinks ahead of time to ensure that you have access to water during a power outage or other crises.
Let’s hope that you are never in an emergency situation. But, it is always better to be prepared just in case a fire, flood or earthquake does occur and you will have the supplies needed and ready.