May is a month of renewal in nature–but the season also brings destruction, with tornadoes, flooding and other severe weather events reminding us of the fragility of our surroundings and our security in it. Helping pet parents devise a plan to protect four-legged family members in times of crisis, FEMA has declared the second Sunday in May every year as National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day.
Creating a Pet Emergency Kit
To defend your dog or cat against a natural disaster, FEMA advises for National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day creating an evacuation plan and a Pet Emergency Go-Kit complete with:
- First aid items
- A three-day supply of water and food
- Pet care supplies, such as food and water bowls, waste bags and a leash and collar
- Any required medication and a copy of your pet’s veterinary records
- Important contact information
- Comfort items to calm the frayed nerves of your dog or cat companion, like their favorite toy or a blanket
Tips for Keeping Your Pet Safe in a Natural Disaster
No matter where you live, natural disasters are a possibility. National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day brings awareness to all kinds of natural disasters: floods, tornadoes, wildfires, hurricanes and earthquakes. Sometimes evacuations–such as for hurricanes–are possibilities; with other disasters like earthquakes, there are no warnings.
Other recommended steps to keep your pet safe in the event of a natural disaster include:
- Get your dog and/or cat microchipped and make sure they wear a collar ID tag.
- Remember to keep all contact information on the ID tag up to date.
- Alert first responders to the fact that there are pets in your home by displaying a pet rescue decal where it can be easily spotted, such as on the front door or window. Include your veterinarian’s contact information on the decal.
- Where do your pals with paws hide when they are frightened? Finding the spot where they feel safe when scared will help you locate your pet quickly if an emergency arises and you need to quickly evacuate.
- As some disaster shelters may not accept pets, designate a place to keep your dog or cat in case of evacuation. If relatives or friends cannot accommodate your pet, look for hotels and motels with pet-friendly policies.
- Keep a photo of your four-legged friend with you at all times in case you are separated during a natural disaster.
- Have a pet carrier or crate for transport and safe-keeping on hand.
More Tips from Rescuers in Animal Disasters
Following Hurricane Harvey here in Texas, Lucy Pet Products and Lucy Pet Foundation worked to help the lost, injured, and homeless animals of Brazoria County–so they saw firsthand the devastation that hurricanes will bring and they sent us some helpful tips as well:
- ID Tags and Collars are a must have. Make sure your pet’s identification is up to date and on your pet. If you are unable to have engraved ID tags made, any waterproof identification around their collar using tape to create a makeshift tag is better than no tag at all.
- Have a travel bag, crate or pet carrier and/or leashes for each pet.
- Recent photos of your pet in case you get separated.
- Water, Food and Any Medications – Two weeks worth and include their feeding dishes.
- Find out if hotels and evacuation shelters are pet-friendly and if they require medical records.
- Boarding facilities and veterinary offices may also be able to provide emergency housing.
- Litter and paper towels or bags for any clean up.
- Let your family and friends know where you and your pets will be.
- Never leave your pets behind. Make plans, arrangements, do whatever you can because you don’t know how long you could be gone.