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Millions of animal owners consider pets are an important member of the family. When preparing for an emergency, be sure to include arrangements for your pets.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
- Food and water: Keep at least three days of food in an airtight, waterproof container. Store at least three days of water specifically for your pets in addition to water you need for yourself and your family.
- Medicines and medical records: Keep an extra supply of medicines your pet takes on a regular basis in a waterproof container.
- First aid kit: Consult your vet about what is most appropriate, but most kits should include cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape, scissors, antibiotic ointment, flea and tick prevention, latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Include a pet first aid reference book.
- Collar with ID tag, harness or leash: Your pet should wear a collar with its rabies tag and identification at all times. Include a backup leash, collar and ID tag in your pet's emergency supply kit. In addition, place copies of your pet's registration information, adoption papers, vaccination documents and medical records in a clean plastic bag or waterproof container and also add them to your kit. You should also consider talking with your veterinarian about permanent identification such as microchipping, and enrolling your pet in a recovery database.
- Pet carrier: If you need to evacuate in an emergency situation, take your pets and animals with you provided that it is practical to do so. In many cases, your ability to do so will be aided by having a sturdy, safe, comfortable crate or carrier ready for transporting your pet.
- Sanitation: Include pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and Household chlorine bleach to provide for your pet's sanitation needs. You can use bleach as a disinfectant (dilute nine parts water to one part bleach), or in an emergency you can also use it to purify water. Use 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented or color safe bleaches, or those with added cleaners.
- A picture of you and your pet together: If you become separated from your pet during an emergency, a picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you in identifying your pet. Include detailed information about species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics.
- Familiar items: Put favorite toys, treats or bedding in your kit. Familiar items can help reduce stress for your pet.
Create a plan to get away
- Plan how you will assemble your pets and anticipate where you will go. If you must evacuate, take your pets with you if practical. If you go to a public shelter, keep in mind your animals may not be allowed inside the shelter, however, accommodations may be available close to the shelter location. If you are at a shelter, it will still be your responsibility to take care of your pet and fulfill your pets needs. Secure appropriate lodging in advance depending on the number and type of animals in your care.
Develop a buddy system
- Plan with neighbors, friends or relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Talk with your pet care buddy about your evacuation plans and show them where you keep your pet's emergency supply kit. Also designate specific locations, one in your neighborhood and another farther away, where you will meet in an emergency.
Talk to your pet's veterinarian about emergency planning
- Discuss the types of things that you should include in your pet's emergency first aid kit. Get the names of vets or veterinary hospitals in other cities where you might need to seek temporary shelter. If your pet is microchipped, keeping your emergency contact information up to date and listed with a reliable recovery database is essential to your being reunited with your pet.
Gather contact information for emergency animal treatment
- Make a list of contact information and addresses of area animal control agencies including the Humane Society or SPCA, and emergency veterinary hospitals. Keep one copy of these phone numbers with you and one in your pet's emergency supply kit. Obtain "Pets Inside" stickers and place them on your doors or windows, including information on the number and types of pets in your home to alert firefighters and rescue workers. Consider putting a phone number on the sticker where you could be reached in an emergency.