Planning for your pets in an emergencyAug 30, 2022 10:13AM ● By Jenna Kretschman
When we hear about tragic events and disasters in the news, we tend to think that those bad things only happen to other people, never to us. But we’re equally likely to face a crisis, and in the chaos of an emergency, oftentimes the safety and wellbeing of our pets becomes compromised. Here are a few ways you can prepare your pet for a disaster:
1. Make sure your pet is easily identifiable if they dart away in an emergency. The most permanent form of pet identification is a microchip implanted by your veterinarian, which links your contact information to your pet when scanned. The quickest way to get your lost pet home is a secure ID tag attached to a collar.
2. Prepare an emergency kit for your pet. Grab a tote bin and fill it with essential pet supplies like leashes, bowls, cat litter and box, extra pet food, bottled water, proof of ownership and vet records. If you must evacuate your home quickly, you’ll have everything you need for your pets in one place. Go through the kit after your pet’s yearly vet exam to update information and refresh the food supply.
3. Know a safe place to take your pet. If you aren’t able to return home right away, it’s good to know where you can turn for safety. Talk with a trusted friend or family member about being your emergency home away from home, or keep a list of pet-friendly motels on hand. There are also community resources you can turn to, like Homeward Hounds at HomewardBound of the Grand Valley. Other services provided by Roice-Hurst Humane Society include a free pet pantry and crisis boarding program.
4. Make a fire evacuation plan. If your house catches fire, the smell of smoke and shrieking fire alarms will likely scare your pet into hiding. Walk through your house and make sure there are no hard-to-get-to hiding places. Get a pet rescue alert sticker and place it near your front door to alert first responders that there are pets in the home. Lastly, test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors twice yearly. Daylight saving time is a great reminder.
5. Practice car safety. You wear a seatbelt to protect your body in a car accident, and your pet deserves the same protection. In the car, your pet should be either kept securely in a carrier or otherwise tethered into the car with a pet seat belt. Never let your dog ride loose in the back of a pickup truck.
6. Include your pet in your end-of-life plan. If you were to pass away, having a plan in place for your pets can make the transition smoother for them. In your will, you can name a new caretaker for your pets (whether that’s a family member or animal shelter) and dedicate an amount of money to leave specifically for their care. Write down everything their new caretaker needs to know, from vet records to daily routines. Find sample directives at www.rhhumanesociety.org/planning-for-your-pet.