The first thing we should consider when developing a plan to get our pets through a disaster is their basic needs. I recommend making a "disaster kit" in a sturdy waterproof container and keep it readily available if you must leave unexpectedly with your pet in an emergency. This kit can be a life saver whether you are forced to evacuate or stranded around your home.
Make sure to include:
- A pet first aid kit
- Your pets vaccination and medical records, medications, vet contact information, microchip information, list of behavioral problems, and feeding instructions.
- Current photos of your pet
- Food and water bowls, litter boxes, etc.
- Pet food and water for at least a few days (Make sure to rotate out the food every few months, so you don't end up with bad food when the emergency strikes)
- Spare sturdy collars with rabies and identification tags
When a catastrophic event happens, there is mass confusion afterwards. This applies to people and it also applies to our pets. Many people assume that your pet's instincts will help it cope when it's world gets turned upside down, but this is not the case. Expect your pet to act differently, whether it be depressed and lethargic or even aggressive. The best thing to do for your pet is to keep it confined in isolation from other pets in a sturdy carrier if possible. Pets that get along together normally may not be so friendly with each other in their frenzied state. There will be many dangers on the ground after a disaster such as chemicals, sharp objects, maybe even traffic where there usually isn't. Keeping your pet confined keeps them out of harms way.
The following links have a wealth of information on preparing your pets for a disaster. Research and be aware of the situations you may encounter.
A disaster is always unexpected and can change your life forever. But with a little planning, you can keep both you and your pet safe and happy.
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