Depending on what continent you call home, you might experience different weather-related emergency or natural disasters than what I would here in Indiana.
Here in my home state, we experience flooding, excessive heat at times, severe thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes and the occasional earthquake, yes we have those in Indiana!
Now in each one of these instances, a different set of emergency plans may be necessary but for this article, we’re going to focus on specific things you can do for your pets during these disasters or weather emergencies. By preparing ahead of time, you’ll be able to act quickly, thereby increasing your survival rate and the survival rate of your pets.
PREPARE EMERGENCY KIT FOR EACH PET
The first thing on order would be to prepare an emergency kit for EACH pet in your home. Cats require different things than dogs, and both of them require different things than exotic pets or fish. So, first, make a list of all your pets. Pretty easy if you only have one or two but if you have a menagerie like me, well, it gets a little more complicated.
Are you pets current on their vaccinations? We suggest keeping your pets current for their health and well-being. In an emergency situation, you never know what type of environment your pet can get thrown into and if heartworm preventative or a bordatella vaccine helps keep my dog safe, by all means, I’m gonna do it, hopefully you will too.
WHAT KIT IS CONTAINED IN
Some people might wonder what the emergency kit be contained in. You can use a box, suitcase or maybe even a large bag with a shoulder strap. In a hurry, the bag can be thrown on your shoulder leaving your hands free.
WHAT’S INSIDE OF KIT
Whatever you choose to have your kit be inside of, we suggest putting a large label or piece of duct tape with your pets name on it. Inside of this kit, keep a current photo of each pet in a ziplock bag. On the back of the picture or separate sheet of paper, include the physical description, weight, any unique traits/distinguishing marks, any medical history or problems. Include their spay/neuter status, age, microchip, tracking or tag number. I’d include the name of your vet, their phone number and address. Also include your name, phone number and address, plus an emergency number, preferably one out of the city you’re in.
Include at least a 1-week supply of food, water and medicine (if necessary) for EACH pet.
Put bowls or containers that won’t tip.
Include toys, treats and a favorite blanket or piece of owner’s clothing.
Include an extra leash, collar and rope.
If including medicine, make sure it’s in a labeled bottle or bag with instructions about dosing.
Vaccination records, microchip number (mentioned above).
If you’re assembly a kit for a cat, include cat litter, preferably in a waterproof bag, a small litter pan, newspaper, trash bags and bleach.
Birds, rats, exotics all require special food so make sure you include everything that they’d need for at least 1-week also.
Now after the kit is assembled you need to think about each pet itself.
Put a collar and identification tag on each pet, if possible. Birds can be leg banded. Rats, exotics, snakes, rabbits, all I can say is do your best getting clear pictures and keep them in secure cages that you can grab quickly.
Each pet should have their own carrier or crate if possible. If you have a bonded pair of cats, you can put them into one carrier. Litter of puppies or small dogs? Again, you can put them in one carrier but remember, if you’re stranded somewhere for a prolonged period of time, your pets might not be as comfortable if they had their own separate space.
Dogs that are too big to be crated should at minimum, have a collar on and their own separate leash.
FIND A SAFE ROOM
We REALLY really suggest you bring outside pets in with you. Find a room in your house with minimal windows and hunker down with all your furry, feathered or finned friends and all your emergency kits. Most likely they will NOT survive on their own if left outside tied on a cable or chain. Depending on the disaster or emergency, being outside alone, would be a horrible nightmare I wouldn’t wish upon anyone or any animal.
If you’re in the bathroom, fill up the bathtub prior to the emergency or leave the sink drip so the cats can jump up and drink water. With the bathtub full, you’ll have numerous gallons in case you need it or the water supply is shut off.
If you have multiple dogs in the room, tether one to the door knob, one to the sink handle if necessary. Having dogs panic and freak out could be disastrous to everyone in the room. Try to remain calm and keep all the pets as calm as possible.
Bring extra towels or blankets so you can cover the bird cage, cat carrier and any crates. The covering could protect them from flying debris, plus, it might help keep them calmer.
OUTSIDE OF THE HOME
Planning to leave your home might be in your best interest. Know where you can take your pets beforehand. Check local hotel to see if they allow pets. Check local veterinarians or boarding facilities. Call a pet sitter. Whatever you do, don’t leave your pets in your home, take them with you or take them somewhere. Your pets more than likely won’t survive on their own.
AT YOUR HOME
Place PETS INSIDE stickers on the front and the back of your house, preferably on a window or door. Include what type of pets.
If you know your neighbors, make a special visit to each one and get acquainted with what type of pets they have, exchange telephone numbers and share your emergency plan. Make a commitment to help each other stay informed of any disaster or weather emergency predicted.
PETS MAY REACT DIFFERENTLY
Be aware that in a major weather emergency or natural disaster, your pet may react differently. He may stop eating, get lethargic, get skittish or timid. He might try and bite and run away. That’s why keeping a collar, tag and leash attached is very important. Your friendly dog might just clam up and shut down. All pets can react unpredictably and it’s best if the pet parent understands this and doesn’t force the pet to act the same way or scold him for any negative behaviors.
LOST OR FOUND PET
If your pet escaped or was lost in the commotion, hopefully you’ve got up-to-date pictures you can share with your local shelter, veterinarian offices, boarding kennels and social media outlets. Give your name and contact information when you call these places and make repeat calls. Often new pets are found and brought in so if you call often, you’ll have a better chance at finding your pet.
After an emergency, pets might wander onto your property or you might spot one running free. ALWAYS call animal control. That pet might belong to a neighbor, a friend; he might be sick or need medicine. Help be a link in reuniting him with his owner.
Whatever type of farm animals you have, whether chickens, horses, cows or pigs, all of them are living creatures and need our help if they’re to survive natural disasters or weather emergencies.
If your animals are inside, prepare the shelter the best you can. Fortify it as strongly as possible. If you aren’t able to load them up and take to higher ground or another farm, at least make their shelter sturdy.
Provide enough food to last for a week.
Leave plenty of water for them in multiple containers in different areas of their enclosure.
If you’re leaving your animals out in pasture to weather the storm, please come back and check on them. If you aren’t able, contact a local pet sitter or veterinarian. We’d be happy to visit your farm and check on the well-being of your animals. We can let you know the status of your herd, the number of deceased animals (god-forbid), how your barns or other structures held up. We can put out straw, feed, give fresh water, put them back into their enclosures. (That’s if WE’RE safe and able to get around town.)
YOUR EMERGENCY KIT
Again, in each situation you might face a different evacuation or emergency plan, but regardless of the threat, having a pet emergency kit for each pet will make things easier.
Your health and safety should be your first priority and having an emergency kit for yourself would be wise.
In it, you could include: water and food for at least a week, current picture of yourself, any distinguishing marks/birth marks, your age, height, weight, eye color, any medicine (with dosage amounts). Include lighter, matches, candles, paper, pen, gauze, bandages, trash bags, extra ziplock bags, emergency contact phone numbers. Include extra clothes and shoes. Include a raincoat, gloves, rope. There are tons of web sites devote to emergency preparedness and bug-out bags so do some research and determine what is appropriate for your area and your needs. Some of the items above are just examples, but food, water are definite necessities.
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