Disasters Happen. Severe storms, tornadoes, flooding, fires and even ice storms have occurred in Bryan and College Station, Texas. Not being prepared can lead to devastating outcomes for families and the first responders that put their lives on the line. You should have a plan for disaster preparedness for your family, including your pets. You should practice your plan.
Emergency Kit for Pets
Having an emergency evacuation kit for yourself and any other household members is essential. It is necessary to have one for your pets too. Your kit should always be in a secure and easily accessible place. The last thing you want is to have to search for it when you should evacuate.
Your pet kit should include:
- Harnesses, leashes, or carriers for transporting your pets safely and ensuring that they cannot escape.
- Food, drinking water, bowls, cat litter/pan, and a manual can opener if your pet eats canned food.
- Copy of medical records stored in a waterproof container.
- A first aid kit.
- Current medications that your pet is taking in properly labeled containers.
- Calming remedies. Ask us about which calming remedies are best for your pet.
- Current photos of you with your pet(s) in case they get lost. These can help you get reunited with your pet.
- Information about your pet:
- Name and number of your veterinarian, especially important if you must board your pets or leave them with a foster
- Feeding schedules
- Medical conditions
- Any behavior problems
- Pet beds and toys, if easily transportable.
- Know your emergency destination ahead of time. Shelters for human victims do not often allow animals. However, motels in the area will probably accept them in an emergency. Call destinations in advance and find out which ones will accommodate you and your animals.
By having these things ready to go at a moment’s notice, you will be able to evacuate as rapidly as possible. Taking even just an extra 10 minutes to find something during a disaster can mean life or death for you or your loved ones.
It also means that you should have everything you need for your pet to survive any disaster until you get more supplies.
A study published by the AVMA found a higher rate of return of microchipped dogs and cats to their families than those not microchipped. This study also pointed out the importance of getting the microchip registered with a database. For example, there is a free registry called Free Registry.com
Disaster Preparedness – Have a Plan
Having an exact plan is essential to ensure your safety and the safety of your pet. Here is a link from the American Red Cross with an Emergency Preparedness Checklist.
We suggest you type out the list of steps to take if you find yourself in a disaster. For example:
- Bring your pets indoors as soon as local authorities say trouble is on the way.
- Keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers and make sure they are wearing identification.
- If you have a room you can designate as a “safe room,” put your emergency supplies in that room in advance, including your pet’s crate and supplies.
- Get your car keys and cell phone with charger.
- Get medications (for you or your pet).
- Bring everything out to the car.
- Drive to the designated address where you know it will be safe.
Once you have made your list, you should practice it. It might seem silly to have emergency preparedness drills at home but, “practice makes permanent” and being ready saves lives. The goal is for you and your family to avoid a tragedy. Also, by practicing your plan, you may learn of any steps you might have missed or areas that need to be revised.
No one wants to experience a disaster, but disaster preparedness means better safety for you, your family, and pets. At College Hills Veterinary Hospital, we hope that you never have to go through a disaster; if one happens, though, we want you prepared. Please contact us if you have any questions about disaster preparedness or need any veterinary service.
Dr. Kim Stewart
College Hills Veterinary Hospital