Ready, Freddy? Disaster Preparedness and Your Pet
Anyone who enjoys the great outdoors knows to bring along certain supplies “just in case.” Indeed, it’s always better to have something and not need it, instead of the other way around. So it goes with disaster preparedness. When thinking about evacuation plans, medical needs, and more, it’s good to have a general understanding of how to protect and provide for your pet should an emergency situation arise.
Better Safe than Sorry
One of the best defenses against separation is to microchip your pet. This is important for general pet care, of course, but in the event of a natural disaster or emergency, it provides the best chance at a happy reunion. While microchipping isn’t a replacement for a collar and ID tags, microchips definitely add an extra layer of protection.
Animals can intuit approaching storms or bad weather long before it reaches us. As a result, they’re known to hide, seek refuge, or even run in response to fear.
As soon as you know that conditions may be rough, find your pet and place them in a secure room. If possible, crate and confine them to a space that’s relatively quiet and comforting.
Know Where to Go
In some cases, evacuating your home and property may be necessary. If you must leave, do not leave your pet behind. Always bring them with you wherever you go.
Disaster preparedness means knowing your options in advance so you and your pet aren’t left stranded in the middle of an emergency. Shelters designed for people typically have a “no pets” rule, so it’s critical to research the following alternatives:
- Local hotels that allow animals (some establishments waive their rules during an emergency)
- Friends or relatives who live within driving distance
- Local animal shelters that are able to house pets during emergency situations
- Boarding options at Elmhurst Animal Care Center
Disaster Preparedness at its Best
Whether you can remain at home (with limited utilities) or you have to leave, a major part of disaster preparedness is having a well-stocked emergency kit. For your pet’s safety and health, The Pet Experts recommend packing a bag with the following essentials:
- Pet first aid kit
- At least 7 days’ worth of canned and bagged pet food (put expiration dates on your calendar and replace as needed)
- Food and water bowls
- Bottled water
- Any medications your pet needs (make sure it isn’t expired)
- Your pet’s medical history in case you have to provide proof of vaccinations and/or parasite prevention
- A recent picture of your pet
- Travel kennel, backup leash and collar, and extra tags
- Litter, tray, scoop, and/or puppy pads
The ASPCA offers a free Pet Safety Pack that you can display in your front window. This informs emergency personnel that there are animals in the home and can facilitate a quick rescue if needed.
Illinois has been known to experience floods, fires, tornadoes, blizzards, and even earthquakes. In the face of potential disaster, it’s vital that you and your pet are prepared.