Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida showed just how quickly a disaster can strike and that it can happen to anyone. While we might not get hurricanes in Minnesota, we have had our share of tornados, blizzards, fires, and other large-scale disaster situations. The need to prepare for a disaster is so important that the Centers for Disease Control hosts National Disaster Preparedness Month every September.
According to the website Ready.gov, all pet owners should create a kit of pet items that they can grab quickly if they need to evacuate their home. It should include:
- Clean drinking water
- Food in an airtight container
- Vaccination records and medical reports
- A pet carrier for each pet
- A collar and tag with your pet’s name, your contact information, and rabies vaccine details
- First aid kit containing flea and tick prevention, antibiotic ointment, tape and scissors, saline solution, and latex gloves at a minimum
- Toys, treats, bedding, and other personal items that can comfort your pet in times of stress
- A picture of you with your pet in case you become separated
- Plastic bags for waste disposal and a litterbox for cats
We also recommend getting a microchip for your pet. If you become separated in a crisis, anyone who finds your dog or cat can take her to a clinic or shelter for scanning. It’s all too easy for a tag and collar to fall off in the chaos.
It’s hard to be level-headed when you need to leave your home in a hurry or you can’t get back to your home. That’s why it’s important to locate resources ahead of time. Unfortunately, most public shelters cannot accept pets for health and sanitation reasons. However, you may be able to locate some pet-friendly hotels in the area. If not, consider creating a list of boarding facilities where you could temporarily leave your pet or even friends or relatives who don’t live in the immediate area.
Do not leave your pet chained up outside as this could trap him in severe weather. If you left your pet with a sitter and can’t get back to him, ask this person to continue checking on him until you make it home.
Disease can spread quickly at times of disaster, especially among unvaccinated pets. By making sure your pet gets regular preventive care, you will have one less thing to worry about at an extremely stressful time. Please let us know if you have additional questions about making sure your pet stays safe when Mother Nature doles out her worst.Photo Credit: Akabei / Getty Images