Are you prepared in the event of an emergency? Do you have all the supplies recommended by The Red Cross and other disaster preparedness groups? And the bigger question is, are your animals prepared?
Natural and man-made disasters can be devastating. Here in California, we are plagued by wildfires, flooding, and earthquakes. Over the next few weeks I will posting about these different disasters and how you can be better prepared for them. This week I am going to talk about creating a safety kit for your pets.
Creating a safety kit for your pets is very important. You may have to evacuate your home for a unknown period of time and you need to be prepared.
Here is a list of things to think about for your pet:
-#1 Make sure all of your pets are microchipped! What if you are not home when the emergency happens? What if they get scared and get out? How will you identify them? Microchips are the easiest way to protect them.
-Have contact info for you neighbors in case you are not home and they are able to help get your pet safely out of your home.
-Know which hotels are pet friendly in a 10 mile radius of your home. Remember, not all evacuation shelters will allow pets so it is important that you know where you can go.
-Food: Keep at least three days of food in an airtight, waterproof container. Make sure you also have a bowl to feed your animals with.
-Water: Store at least three days of water specifically for your pet(s), this is in addition to water you’ll need for yourself and family. Make sure you have a bowl for this as well.
-Medications: Keep an extra supply of medications your pet takes on a regular basis; store in a waterproof container. Remember, veterinary hospitals may not be open if they are also affected by the disaster, so you may not be able to get a refill on important medications.
-Collar with ID tag, harness and/or leash: Your pet should always wear a collar with its rabies tag and identification. Makes sure you have your pets micro-chip ID number accessible to you.
-First Aid Kit: Talk to our veterinarian about what is most appropriate for your pet’s emergency medical needs.
Most kits should at least include:
-Conforming stretch gauze bandage material (2” x 75”) – can be used to create a pressure wrap, sterile gauze pads (4”x4”) – can be cut to smaller size if needed
-cotton tipped applicators
-flea and tick prevention
-povidone-iodine prep pads
-tweezers, and scissors.
-protective paws covers – remember there may be broken glass around, you need something to protect their feet if they have to walk on the ground.
-Important Documents: Place copies of your pet’s registration information, adoption papers, vaccination documents and medical records in a clean plastic/waterproof container and add them to your kit.
-Muzzle for your dog or cat. Your pets are likely to be stressed or injured and may bite as a reaction to fear or pain.
-Crate and another pet carrier: If you need to evacuate in an emergency you will need a safe place to transport your pet in. This is especially true for cats and smaller pets.
-Sanitation: Cat litter & a litter box if possible. Paper towels, newspaper, plastic trash bags and house hold coloring bleach will help to provided sanitation if/when needed. You can use bleach as a disinfectant (dilute nine parts water to one-part bleach). Use 8 drops of regular household bleach per gallon of water, stir well and let it stand for at least 30 minutes before use. 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, color and distinguishing characteristics/markings.
-Familiar items: Put favorite toys, treats or bedding in your kit. Familiar items can help reduce stress for your pet.
Emergencies are scary and can be life changing. To protect your fury loved ones, the most important thing you can do is to be prepared.
Melissa Tompkins, BS, CVPM