The likelihood that you and your animals will survive in an emergency such as a fire, flood, tornado, earthquake, or terrorist attack depends largely on emergency planning done today. Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets.
Preparing Your Pet for Emergencies
Just as you would do with your family’s emergency supply kit, think about the basics for survival, particularly food and water. Consider three kits. In one, put everything you and your pets will need to stay where you are. Make one lightweight, smaller version you can take if you and your pets have to evacuate. Also have a kit for your pets, should you have to leave them behind.Remember most evacuation shelters may not allow pets. Plan ahead where you can take your pet in case of an emergency evacuation such as a kennel or other family members home.
Each Pet Emergency Supply Kit should include the following items:
Store at least a three day supply in an airtight, waterproof container.
Store at least three days of water specifically for your pets in addition to water you need for yourself and your family.
A guide line is as follows:
- A 10 pound animal drinks 1 pint daily.
- A 20 pound animal drinks 1 quart daily.
- A 50 pound animal drinks ½ gallon daily.
Keep copies of your veterinary records in a plastic bag and keep them current. Remember to rotate medications to keep them fresh.
If you need to evacuate in an emergency situation take your pets and animals with you provided that it is practical to do so. In many cases, your ability to do so will be aided by having a sturdy, safe, comfortable crate or carrier ready for transporting your pet. The carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down. Put your pet's name and your name including a phone number on the crate or carrier in case you and your pet are separated.
Your pet should wear a collar with its rabies tag and identification at all times. Include a backup leash, collar and ID tag in your pet’s emergency supply kit. In addition, place copies of your pet’s registration information, adoption papers, vaccination documents and medical records in a clean plastic bag or waterproof container and also add them to your kit. You should also consider talking with your veterinarian about permanent identification such as micro-chipping, and enrolling your pet in a recovery database. You can also have a picture of you and your pet together, to help identify your pet if you are separated.
First Aid Kit
Talk to your veterinarian about what is most appropriate for your pet’s emergency medical needs. Most kits should include cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors; antibiotic ointment; flea and tick prevention; latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Include a pet first aid reference book.
Include pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach to provide for your pet’s sanitation needs. You can use bleach as a disinfectant (dilute nine parts water to one part bleach), or in an emergency you can also use it to purify water. Use 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented or color safe bleaches, or those with added cleaners.
Put favorite toys, treats or bedding in your kit. Familiar items can help reduce stress for your pet.
Preparing Your Large Outdoor Pets and Animals
If you have large animals such as horses, cattle, sheep, goats or pigs on your property, be sure to prepare before a disaster.
- Ensure all animals have some form of identification.
- Evacuate animals whenever possible. Map out primary and secondary routes in advance.
- Make available vehicles and trailers needed for transporting and supporting each type of animal. Also make available experienced handlers and drivers.
- Ensure destinations have food, water, veterinary care and handling equipment.
- If evacuation is not possible, animal owners must decide whether to move large animals to shelter or turn them outside.