It’s something we all hope never to have to deal with, but being prepared for emergency situations is vital. Depending on the area you live in, and the types of severe weather and disaster situations that may arise, most people are prepared for the emergency situations they might face. However, have you thought about what you would need for your pets to be prepared as well? Pets are important family members, and it is essential to have an emergency kit prepared for all your animal companions with the basics that would be needed, should you ever have occasion to use it. Once prepared, store your pet emergency kits wherever the rest of your emergency supplies are kept, so everything for the whole family is together in case of an emergency. Some essentials that you should include are:
- A crate or carrier for each of your pets, that is large enough to hold their food and water dishes, with enough room for them to still stand, turn around and lie down in. It can be a good idea to label the crate with your contact information, your pet’s information, and your vet’s contact information.
- Extra collar, harness and leash for each dog. One for your cat too, if they’ll wear it!
- Non- spill food and water dishes.
- At least a weeks’ worth of food per animal, with dry food in airtight containers. Wet, canned food is also good to have, as wet food helps to provide some moisture for your pet, and will make them less thirsty. Remember to include a manual can opener, and don’t forget a few treats as well!
- A weeks’ worth of water per animal, bottled. A large dog needs about a gallon of water a day, smaller animals less so, but make sure to have a generous supply for everyone.
- Familiar comfort items such as blankets and toys.
- Plastic bags for waste disposal, along with newspapers, paper towels, and bleach for cleanup and sanitizing. An extra litter box, litter, and scoop if you have cats.
In a waterproof bag, be sure to have the following as well:
- Copies of all your pet’s veterinarian documents, including proof of ownership and microchip numbers, pictures of yourself with your pets, vaccination and medical records, and contact information for your vet.
- An ample supply of any medication and preventative medications with dosage instructions.
- An instructions page outlining feeding routines, administering any medications, medical issues, behavioural issues, and any other information specific to your pets.
Make sure all your pets are wearing identification tags that are up to date, and consider having them microchipped and registered, to give you the best chance of being reunited with your pets, should you be separated during an emergency.
Consider developing an emergency contact list- in the event that you are away from home when an emergency occurs, a trusted neighbor, nearby family member or friend should have a key to your home, know your pets well, and know where to find their emergency kit.
Always take your pets with you in an emergency situation. If it is unsafe for you, it is unsafe for them as well. Even if you think you are only leaving for a short time, you don’t want unforeseen or extenuating circumstances to prevent you from getting home to get your pet to safety, or put your pets in greater danger.
You know best the types of extreme weather and emergency situations you are likely to experience in your area, and the best ways to prepare. Speak with your vet about further emergency preparation resources specific to your location. Carefully consider and take the necessary steps to make sure your whole family is well- prepared for whatever life may throw at you.