Are You and Your Pet Prepared for an Emergency?
It’s been a long year for the many families and pets displaced in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. October 29 will mark the one-year anniversary of the super storm coming ashore and changing lives forever—hundreds of pets were rescued and cared for in emergency shelters. Most were reunited with their owners, but some pets still remain in shelters or foster homes.
The 2013 hurricane season began in June but the naming of storms picks up speed in late summer and early fall. However, this summer was the wettest summer season on record (in the Philadelphia region) so flooding is already a concern going into the height of hurricane season.
Are you and your pet prepared for an emergency or disaster? Some emergencies don’t all look like the aftermath of a hurricane; situations can range from unexpectedly having to be away from home for a few days or an extended power outage to a medical emergency or financial misfortune. Of course, if you live in an area prone to weather-related emergencies, then having a plan could make a stressful situation a bit easier.
The ASPCA offers great information on creating an emergency preparedness plan and kit. Here’s an overview (click on ASPCA Tips for Disaster Preparedness to see the full article):
- Designated Caregiver
Whether you are identifying a temporary or permanent caregiver for your pet, you need to select a pet care facility or person that is equipped to provide for your pet in an emergency. It’s a good idea to have care instructions prepared in advance.
Start by creating a basic pet first aid kit, including an extra harness and leash, and then add essential items for travel and time away from home:
- pet carrier and blanket
- portable food/water dish
- wet/dry food and bottled water for at least a week (watch expiration dates and refresh supplies as needed)
- disposable litter, tray and garbage bags
- photo of pet(s) and care instructions including contact info for veterinarian
- names of any supplements and prescriptions for any medications your pet takes
- Create an Evacuation Plan & Choose a Safe Haven
Whatever the emergency, you should prepare a detailed plan for safely leaving your homeor evacuating an area quickly before the emergency happens. Choose a meeting place—like a designated shelter, personal home or landmark—and a form of communication with family, friends or neighbors including a phone number and social media platform. If pets are not allowed where you must go, call ahead to make arrangements with a pet lodging facility located in a safe area.
“Be sure your pet is current with a wellness visit and essential vaccinations as part of your emergency planning. This will ensure your pet, and the pets of others, are protected from highly infectious diseases in the event staying at a pet facility or caregiver home is necessary,” added Dr. Laura Weis, co-owner of Doylestown Veterinary Hospital and Holiday House Pet Resort in Doylestown, PA.
Keep your pet first aid/emergency preparedness kit in an easy-to-reach-place, like near an exit or in your vehicle. Finally, practice makes perfect—hold fire and emergency drills to rehearse your action plan.