Did you know that May 24 to 30 is Hurricane Preparedness week? While we may not see hurricanes in Perth County, we certainly aren’t immune to other emergency situations such as tornadoes or fires. Many people know what they plan to do with themselves and their family in the case of an emergency or natural disaster, but people sometimes fail to consider what they will do with their pets. This can cause a lot of stress and heartbreak if not planned for ahead of time. Here are some tips for keeping your pets safe during an emergency.
Microchip your pet: If your pet is separated from you in an emergency situation, this is the best form of permanent identification that can allow you to be reunited with your pet. Tags and collars are easily lost.
Keep a pet first aid kit: This is important to have on hand if your pet is injured. For tips on how to make a first aid kit, see our previous blog.
Keep leashes and carriers in the same place: If you need to evacuate quickly, it is important to be able to grab these things efficiently, without having to search for them. Have separate carriers and leashes for each pet. Even if your pets normally get along, in a stressful emergency they may fight and injure each other.
Train your cat to be comfortable in a carrier: In an emergency, the last thing you want to spend time doing is struggling to get your cat in its carrier. Learn more about this here: http://www.catster.com/cat-carriers/teach-your-cat-to-love-the-carrier
Have an emergency kit: This is a kit to have all the essentials in case you are not able to leave your house for a few days. This kit should include things like water, bowls, litterboxes and litter, blankets, medications, food, plastic bags, a can opener, your pet’s vaccination records and your pet’s first aid kit. For more information on creating an emergency kit, check out the Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team’s website: http://www.cdart.org/beprepared.htm
Plan for evacuation: Make a plan now for where you might have to go in an evacuation. It is best to take your pets with you; some emergency shelters may not allow this. Where possible, try to plan to stay with friends or family so that you can keep your pets safe and with you.
Keep your pet up to date with vaccinations: If you are forced to leave your pet somewhere such as a boarding facility, they will require vaccinations be up to date as well as proof of this from your veterinarian.
If you need to leave your pets behind: Place many bowls of water around and secure them as much as possible so that they cannot tip over. Also open containers of food as well as cupboards so that your pets can have access to them. Keep the lid up on the toilet. Place a highly visible notification on your door or window for rescue workers to find. List all the pets that were left behind with their names and descriptions. Never tie your pet up outside.
Contact your local emergency management office: They may offer tips as to where you can shelter your pet in an emergency. Here are the websites for Stratford and Perth County:
The most important thing in an emergency is to be prepared. Planning ahead can save a lot of time and heartbreak for you, your family and your pets.