LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Your pets are important members of your household. Be sure to include them in your disaster preparedness plans.
"Family pets are often overlooked in disaster planning", said Stephanie Gittinger, AmeriCorps: VISTA volunteer and KYEM Shelter Coordinator. "However," she said, "recent disasters have taught us this is an important and much needed component of disaster planning."
Your Pet's Kit
Like your own emergency kit, the one you create for your pet should include at least three days of food, water and medications. Other items to help your pet may include:
- First aid kit. Talk to your veterinarian about what should be included. Most pet kits have cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors, antibiotic ointment, flea and tick prevention, latex gloves, rubbing alcohol and saline solution. A pet first aid book also is helpful.
- Identification, harness or leash. Your dog or cat should wear a collar with an ID and rabies tags at all times. Keep a backup set in your pet's emergency kit. Include important documents like registration, adoption, vaccination, or important medical records. Consider micro chipping and enrolling your pet in a recovery database.
- A picture of you and your pet together. A picture will help identify your pet and document ownership should you become separated.
- Crate or carrier. Have a sturdy, safe, comfortable crate or carrier to transport your pet.
- Familiar items. Include your pet's favorite toys, treats or bedding.
- Sanitation. Have supplies to provide for your pet's sanitation needs such as litter and litter box, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach for disinfecting (dilute nine parts water to one part bleach).
Your Pet's Plan
When planning for your pets in an emergency, consider two options: sheltering in place or evacuating. Be prepared for both.
Decide how you will assemble your pets and anticipate where you will go if you evacuate. The single most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to take them with you when you evacuate. Animals left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost or killed.
Understand that for public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets. Find out before an emergency happens which facilities in your area are viable options for you and your pets.
Consider family or friends willing to take in you and your pets. Research which area motels and hotels allow pets. Boarding facilities, animal shelters or veterinary hospitals also may be an option. Pets displaced by a disaster frequently are housed in shelters. Contact your local humane society chapter to locate nearby shelters and support organizations.
Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends or relatives to make sure someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you can't. Share your evacuation plan with your pet care buddy and show them where you keep your pet's emergency supply kit. Designate a location in your neighborhood and farther away where you will meet in an emergency.
Plan to take your pets with you if at all possible. If you have no alternative and must leave your pet at home, take precautions. NEVER leave your pet chained outside. Confine them to a safe area inside your home with food and plenty of water. Remove the toilet tank lid, raise the seat and brace the bathroom door open so they can drink. Place notices outside in a visible area, advising what pets are in the house and where they are located. Provide a phone number where you or a contact can be reached as well as the name and number of your vet.
Arm yourself with information. Research what pet ...