In Minnesota we may not experience hurricanes or earthquakes, but there are a number of other disasters that occur that we and our pets might fall victim to. Recently several small towns were torn apart by tornadoes, and in the early spring we experienced many floods that forced people from there homes and closed roads. We want to make sure our pets are safe and cared for in these situations. In the case of floods, fires, blizzards or tornadoes it pays to be prepared.
The first thing to do is create an evacuation plan and practice it. Arrange for somewhere to go and make sure ahead of time that they will welcome your pets. Don't wait until the last minute to evacuate. If you wait to be evacuated by emergency officials you may be told to leave your pet behind.
Always take your pet when you evacuate, even if you think it will only be for a couple hours. Once you leave there is no way of knowing how long you will be kept away. You may not be able to get back to them for quite some time.
In case you are not home when a disaster occurs, designate a willing neighbor to look after your pets if they are able. Post a notice on your front door for emergency officials, that describes the number and species of the animals in your home. Include on this posting a description of where the pet might be found in the house. On this posting, you can also note which veterinary clinic is authorized to treat your pets in an emergency.
The next thing you should do is create a disaster kit for your pets. This should include the following items in easy to carry, water tight containers...
- Pet First Aid Kit (talk with your veterinarian about things to include)
- Medical Records, including vet records and microchip information
- Sturdy leashes, harness, and carriers to transport animals
- Current photos and descriptions of pets to prove they are yours if you get separated
- Food and water for at least 3 days
- Bowls, litter boxes, litter, and a manual can opener
- Info about medical and behavioral conditions, as well as the phone number of your veterinarian
- A list of emergency contacts
- Toys and bedding if you have room
Make sure your pets also have on identification tags. Unfortunately many pets tend to lose their tags and collars when lost, so the best thing you can do for them is to microchip them. A microchip is a permanent form of identification that is implanted under their skin, and can be read by any clinic or shelter who finds them. A microchip can be implanted by your veterinarian at any time.
Preparing for disasters is like having insurance. You hope you never have to use it, but are sure glad you have it when you do. Don't let your pets become victims in natural disasters. Being prepared will keep them safe during those unexpected times.
For more information on disaster preparedness click here
For more information on microchips please click here
To find out how your local emergency services are helping to keep your pet safe click here