Help protect pets by planning for and spreading the word about disaster preparedness
BY JENNIFER EAGLE, SYRACUSE CITY DISASTER PREPAREDNESS COMMITTEE
Disasters or emergencies can happen at any time and can come in many forms. Some emergencies may require only a few days away from home while others may require a more extended absence. Planning for and taking simple steps to prepare your furry family members for emergencies is the best thing that you can do for yourself and your pets. Pets come in all shapes and sizes; however, this article will primarily cover common household pets such as dogs and cats. The following tips can be applied to the emergency planning for other pets such as livestock, horses, birds, reptiles, or other small animals with additional planning and consideration.
TIPS TO KEEP YOUR PETS SAFE DURING A DISASTER
1. Don’t leave your pets at home. If it’s not safe for you to stay home during an emergency, it’s not safe for them either.
2. Prepare an emergency kit for your pet. According the American Red Cross, an emergency kit should include:
• leash, harness and/or carriers to safely transport pets
• food, drinking water, bowls, cat litter/pan, and a manual can opener if your pet eats canned food
• medications and copies of medical records stored in a waterproof container
• a first aid and grooming kit
• current photos of your pets in case they get lost
• information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pet
• pet bed and toys, if easily transportable
3. Prepare an evacuation plan for you and your pets. Most American Red Cross shelters cannot accept pets due to health and safety concerns. Service animals that assist people with disabilities are allowed in Red Cross shelters.
• Know which hotels along your evacuation route will accept pets in an emergency.
• Prepare a list with phone numbers of friends/family, boarding facilities, animal shelters, or veterinarians who can care for your animals in the event of an emergency.
• Include your pets in evacuation drills.
• Train your pets to get comfortable in a pet carrier or kennel. Doing so will make transporting and potentially boarding them less stressful.
• Make sure that their vaccinations are current and dogs and cats are wearing collars with up-to-date identification.
• Have your pet microchipped by your veterinarian.