BY: Laurie Brzostowski
Serious storms, earthquakes, floods, and power outages can be unpredictable. Preparing a disaster plan for you and your pets can save a lot of unnecessary stress during a serious crisis. Some things to consider include:
Frightened animals tend to exhibit the flight response and flee when scared. Current identification is vital in case your pet becomes unexpectedly lost during a disaster. All dogs and cats should possess identification tags with up to date contact information.
Permanent identification methods are also useful in case your pet loses their collar. Microchip implants are painless and sit under your pet’s skin for life. If your pet is found, they are scanned by workers at animal shelters or clinics to be traced back to you. Make sure to keep contact information updated on the microchip register as well.
2. Retrieving your pet
If you are not at home with your dog or cat when a disaster occurs, you will need to go back and retrieve them. If you are not able to make it back to your home safely, it is a good idea to establish a contingency plan with a family member, neighbour, or friend for someone to go and check on your pet. This should be a person who your pet is familiar with and who you trust to gain emergency assess into your home.
Another useful tool is a pet alert sign. Pet alert signs inform emergency workers who may be first on a disaster scene that there could be animals trapped inside your home. The sign should be placed in a front window to be easily visible.
3. Evacuation kit
If evacuation of your home is necessary, you will be responsible for your pet’s food and supplies. Your pet evacuation kit should be assembled in advance and should contain at least a one week supply of pet food and water as well as an extra stock of any medications your pet requires. It is important to regularly check the expiry dates of food and medication. Restock supplies when necessary.
Other essential items to include in the evacuation kit are first aid supplies, copies of medical and vaccination records, items for restraint, waste supplies, blankets, and towels.
Following a disaster, observe your pet for signs of stress including restlessness, vomiting or diarrhea. If you have any concerns about their health, contact a veterinarian.