If you had 3 minutes to evacuate your house, would you be able to take care of your pets? National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day helps us focus on the things we need to do to take care of our pets in an emergency. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association at least 63% of all households have pets. Since any area of the country could face some sort of disaster, it is important to think about what to do with our pets when emergencies occur.
Do not leave pets behind. Take your pets with you when you leave. You have seen what happens in hurricanes, floods and wildfires when pets are left to fend for themselves. Chances of survival for house pets in disaster areas are very slim. Finding pets after an event is also very difficult and makes recovery that much harder.
In many cases preparing for disasters for pets is very similar to what you plan for yourself. You need at least 7 days food and water for all the pets in the household. That is in addition to the food and water you maintain for your family. Many pets are on insulin or other medications. Do you have a supply of medications available? Have you made advance arrangements for locations, perhaps a friend or relative, where your animals could be boarded until the danger is past. Most shelters now allow animals during emergencies, but check in advance on policies in your area.
It is recommended that you have a “go kit” for your pets. This go kit should have everything necessary to keep your animal in good health during a crisis. Among the items to include would be collars,leashes and identification tags, photos of your pets, food water, medications and medical records, sanitation supplies, blankets or towels and familiar toys or favorite items. For more ideas check out FEMA’s list.
And don’t forget to get all those vaccinations up to date. Animals may be in close quarters in shelters adding to the spread of common diseases.
Help yourself and your pets by making your pet survival plans today. Assembling go kits for your family and pets today will save precious time and perhaps heartache later.