Disaster Preparedness and Animals

dog in windDisaster situations can happen at any time, with out any prior notice. World events of the past few years have opened the eyes of many to the fact that disasters aren’t just a result of Mother Nature. Earthquakes in Chile and Haiti, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, 9-11 and other terrorist events are just a few disaster situations that come to mind.

Disaster Preparedness Tips for Companion Animals

Place an emergency decal on your front door that states what type of and how many pets you have. This way in case you are not home when an emergency happens your pets can be rescued.
Make sure your pets have proper identification. Microchips, collars and tags and tattoos are some forms of identification.  Talk with your veterinarian to see which methods are appropriate for your pets.  Make sure all contact information is continually updated and provide several contact telephone numbers—yours and one of a friend or relative outside your immediate area.
Look for a pet-friendly motel or hotel well outside your immediate area. Some resources are:
petfriendly.com/travel/
www.pettravelcenter.com/accommodations
www.petswelcome.com/milkbone/map.html

Be neighborly. Exchange information, instructions and house keys with a few trusted neighbors or nearby friends. Make sure that if they evacuate your animals for you that you include in your plans a way for them to contact you so you are not going back and risking injury.

Pack a disaster kit for each of your companion animals.  The basics of your kit should include:

  • Food: Keep at least one week’s supply stored in airtight containers. Include a can opener, spoon and an extra bowl. Be sure to rotate your supply every three months.
  • Water: Keep at least two week’s supply stored in airtight containers.  Include an extra bowl. Be sure to rotate water supply every two months.
  • Identification/Records: In the event that you are separated from your pet you will have to prove to authorities that he/she is yours. Make sure they are wearing some type of identification with your information. Carry in your kit their veterinary records and recent photographs of you and your pets together.
  • First Aid/Medication: Prepare or purchase a basic animal first aid kit and book. A great pet first aid book can be purchased through www.redcross.org and can be found under their publications section.  Another great resource is United Animal Nations www.uan.org/applications/store.cfm?navid=157. UAN has pet first aid and disaster preparedness kits and books. If your pet is on medication be sure to take along at least a one-week’s supply. In case you are separated from your pet create a collar tag indicating their medical needs.
  • Cleaning supplies: Carry small containers of bleach and soap. Rotate supply every 6 months. Pack several rolls of paper towels and plastic trash bags.

Species specific needs:

Dogs:
Pooper Scooper or small plastic bags
Collapsible crate or kennel
Harness and leash

Cats:
Extra litter box/scooper
One week’s supply of litter
Small plastic airline kennel
Harness and leash

Birds, Reptiles and Rabbits:
One week supply of cage liners or newspaper
Long handled net, heavy towel and blanket
A flashlight and extra batteries
Extra water bottles or bowls
An evacuation cage or carrier
Timothy hay for rabbits (one week’s supply)

Horses, Swine and Cattle:
Halter and lead rope for each animal
Extra feeding bucket, water trough, salt lick and tie-out rope
Clean garbage cans for large quantities of water
Two weeks supply of bedding materials
Fence panels to create small enclosures
Manure fork