September is National Preparedness Month! Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes; some only requiring a short absence, while others may result in a complete and permanent evacuation. Each type of disaster requires different measures to keep your pet safe, so the best thing you can do for yourself and your pets is to be prepared. Follow these steps when creating an emergency disaster plan for your pet.
When preparing an emergency disaster plan, the first thing you want to do is make sure your dog has up-to-date identification. This should be in the form of ID tags for your dog’s collar and a microchip. Most veterinarians and animal shelters immediately check for a microchip when they find a lost dog.
The second step when creating your emergency disaster plan is organizing a folder with up-to-date information on your dog that is packed and ready to go. This should include a recent photo, which is very important when finding a lost pet. As soon as your dog goes missing, you want to get their clear and up-to-date picture out to as many people as possible. Also be sure to include any information containing your dog’s animal hospital’s phone number/address, complete veterinary records (proof of up-to-date vaccinations), and proof of dog ownership. It will be beneficial to have these items in a sealed, waterproof folder or envelope, and stored in a fireproof safety box.
The third step in preparing your emergency disaster plan is creating an emergency kit for your dog. An emergency disaster could result in you and your pet having to evacuate quickly, so you want to have these items ready to go. Possible items to include are; food and water bowls, collar and leash, pet first aid kit, at least 72 hours' worth of food, water, and medications, correct sized cage, and any other items you feel are necessary for your dog.
Make sure to practice your evacuation plan and have all household members on board. Everyone needs to know what to do in case of an emergency evacuation. Proper preparation is essential when trying to keep your dog safe in an emergency disaster.
The ASPCA offers a free easy-to-use sticker that will let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers. If you must evacuate with your pets, and if time allows, write “EVACUATED” across the stickers. To get a free emergency pet alert sticker for your home, fill out the ASPCA's online order form and allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. Your local pet supply store may also sell similar stickers.