When there’s an emergency, don’t forget pets

By on October 9, 2015

There are times when you can plan for an emergency situation. Other times, there’s little to no warning. We’re all susceptible to whacks from fate, so preparedness should be important to us all.

That said, what should you do to prepare your pets for a possible displacement, a temporary move, time without power and anything else that could disrupt their daily lives? Emergency kits and plans are a great place to start. And when seeking advice on a plan, consult your local emergency management experts. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Office recently published this information and we’re passing it on to you.

First, always make plans ahead of time to take your pet to stay at relatives, friends or a kennel outside the affected area. If there’s a flood or a threat of severe weather which causes you to evacuate your home, this is especially important.

Know the locations of pet-friendly hotels, motels and campgrounds both inside and outside your local area. Ask if “no pet” policies can be waived in an emergency. As much as you’d like to just bring Fido with you wherever you seek refuge, the people in charge of these safe places may not be as happy to house pets.

Prepare a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter animals in an emergency. Be sure to include 24-hour phone numbers.

Consult with your local animal control officer and emergency management director about possible temporary shelter facilities in your community.

Ask local animal shelters if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets in a disaster. Animal shelters may be overburdened caring for the animals they already have, as well as those displaced by a disaster, so this should be your last resort. And if a disaster strikes, shelters and animal control operations will be slammed anyway…

Make a backup emergency plan in case you can’t care for your animals yourself. Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. It’s always great to have a network of people who you can be involved with related to the care of animals.

And when it’s time to face the changing circumstances, like yourself, your pets will need supplies. Here’s a suggested list of things to have in an emergency preparedness kit:

  • Collars, leashes, harnesses and/or carriers to transport and house your pets
  • Medications and medical records (stored in a waterproof container)
  • Food, drinkable water, bowls, cat litter/pan and manual can opener
  • Current photos of your pets in case they get lost
  • Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you are separated
  • Pet bed or toys if easily transportable

For more advice and information about best practices in emergencies, be sure to check out local shelter, government and animal control resources. When emergencies happen, and they will, be prepared for your sake and for the sake of your pets.


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