In the event of an emergency such as a fire or natural disaster, are you prepared to keep your pets safe? A little advance planning could mean a life or death difference for your furry family members should you have to leave home in a hurry.
The first step to keeping them protected is to outfit all of your pets with proper identification. Collars, tags, harnesses and carriers should all be labeled with your pet’s name and your contact information. Oak Tree Vet offers microchipping, which provides permanent identification that can reunite you and your pet even if he loses his collar and leash. Here is a link for more information.
Keep your pet’s medical information on your phone along with a current picture of you and your pet together. This will increase the chances of getting her back should you become separated. The pet portal on our website allows you to keep your pet’s medical information in one convenient place.
It’s also critical to keep your pets current on vaccines and other preventive care such as annual or biannual exams. They will likely be turned away from shelter if they’re not up to date. Let us know if you need to schedule an appointment.
In an emergency such as a fire, your pets may be disoriented or frightened and more likely to run off, so make sure that they are accustomed to their carriers and leashes. We recommend keeping cat carriers in your living space so that your cats find them a safe and familiar place. Train your pets to come when called and practice getting in the car and going for rides. It may sound silly to have practice drills, but it could save precious minutes if you need to leave in a hurry.
If there is a widespread emergency like a flood and you need to evacuate, do so early and take your pets with you. Red Cross shelters allow only service animals, so have a list of boarding facilities where you can take your pets. Pet-friendly hotels are another option unless you have friends and family to stay with. Ask if “no pet” places waive this rule in case of emergencies.
If you have to leave home with your pets, consider taking some familiar items like toys and beds that may help reduce their stress level. Pheromone products like Adaptil and Feliway can help keep pets calmer as well. These are available in our clinic and our online store. Have a pet “disaster kit” ready to go. This should include at least several days of food and water, bowls and a can opener, litter boxes, pet waste bags and pee pads, medications and health information, a pet first aid kit, paw pads and muzzles. The ASPCA has a useful app where you can store your pet’s records and make flyers if you’re separated. Here is a link for more information.
We hope you and your pets never have to go through an emergency situation but hope these tips help you to keep everyone safe if one should occur.