Even though hurricane season isn’t quite here, we are in the midst of North Carolina’s March-through-August tornado season. Natural disasters do tend to follow seasonal weather patterns, but they can strike at any time, just like house fires, falling trees, or severe storms. A family member’s extended illness can also be an emergency, because it can affect your pet’s care. Prepare for any unexpected disaster with a plan that includes all your family members, human and furry. When you put together an emergency strategy, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my pet’s information correct and up-to-date? Ensure all your pet’s contact information is current. Check collar identification tags, microchip registration, and your family veterinarian’s records to verify your most recent phone number is listed. Label your pet’s carrier or crate with your contact information in case you become separated. Consider also adding an alternate contact, such as a friend or family member you may stay with if you have to evacuate.
- Do I have enough food, water, and medication? Your pet’s emergency kit should include a five-day supply of food and water kept in airtight containers that are changed every three months to ensure the supplies are always fresh. Also, rotate your pet’s daily medications to ensure they don’t expire. If your pet eats canned food, don’t forget a manual can opener. Also, remember that what goes in, must come out, and include waste bags for your dog, or litter and disposable boxes for your cat, for elimination purposes. Consider adding cleaning products and paper towels in case of accidents.
- Where will my pet stay if we have to evacuate the area? Many emergency shelters do not accept pets, so plan accordingly, based on the shelter available in your area. Determine your evacuation route and then look for a pet-friendly hotel, boarding facilities, or other pet-friendly facilities along your route that can house your pet in an emergency.
- Do I have a current photograph of me with my pet? Update your stash of selfies with your pet routinely. If you and your pet become separated, a current color picture will be invaluable. Animal shelters and rescue organizations may require proof of ownership of your pet, so be sure the picture shows you and your pet, not just your pet.
- Is my pet current on vaccinations? If disaster is about to strike, it is too late to be worrying about updating your pet’s vaccinations. Many facilities require up-to-date vaccinations to board a pet, so keep your pet current, and always have the most recent vaccination records on hand.
- Do I have a crate or carrier for my pet? Your pet will likely become anxious and nervous during an emergency, so make her crate or carrier a safe, familiar place that reminds her of home with cozy blankets, toys, and treats. Also, be sure the crate is large enough for your pet to comfortably stand and lie down, since she may be confined for long periods if you have to evacuate.
- Do I have a backup plan for my pet? Consider all the types of potential disasters and how to protect your pet in each one. What happens if there’s a house fire while you are at work? What if you are forced to evacuate and you can’t get home to pick up your pet? Buddy up with a neighbor or friend to care for each other’s pets in disaster situations. Trade house keys and emergency plans so you’re prepared to evacuate with all your pets and their necessities.
Are you prepared with an emergency plan for yourself and your pets? If emergency strikes and you need assistance with your furry friends, give us a call.