Don’t Forget Pets In Emergency Plans

We know all too well that disaster can strike quickly and without warning in the area in which we live. Many of us will never forget the recent string of tornadoes that ripped through the Kentucky and Southern Indiana areas causing so much devastation and heartache for families.

A multitude of people have had to rebuild their homes as a result of our recent local disaster and they immediately thought to include safer areas like basements and fortified rooms in their new homes.  They do not want to be caught off-guard again.

As a business in the pet care industry, and specifically one that travels to people’s homes and provides an alternative to boarding and kenneling, we’ve seen our share of natural disasters like tornadoes, floods, high winds, hail and ice-storms that can strike at any time. What many families forget when they are making emergency plans are their furry children.  Hundreds, if not thousands of pets are separated annually from their families as a result of natural disasters, and sadly, many are never reunited.

We always implore our clients to have an “emergency back-up plan” not only for their familes, but for their pets, for when disaster strikes. Make preparations ahead of time and you will prevent potential heartache in the future.  Here’s how you can prepare:

  1. Contact your local police or fire department to ask about their emergency procedures and how they might affect your pets.
  2. Purchase an “Evacuation” sticker. These stickers have become more popular in recent years, and have been responsible for saving many pets from fire and other natural disasters.  You can affix the sticker to your front window or door, and it will indicate how many pets you have in your home, along with an emergency contact number.
  3. Inform your neighbors that you have pets.  You may even want to give a trusted individual who is familiar with your pets a key to your home. At Paws Pet Care, we offer to keep our clients’ keys in a secure “key safe.” If disaster strikes and they cannot get to their pets, we have access to their homes and their key is secure with us.
  4. Proper Identification. It is incredibly important to make sure your pets are correctly identified. Tags can get caught on things or fall  from collars. Pets often slip out of collars if they get it caught  on something. There are so many tragic stories of people losing their pets, not having had them micro-chipped, and never seeing them again. But there are also plenty of happy stories out there, about people who were separated from their pets, sometimes for years, but were reunited because of a microchip. Bottom line – tags on collars are useful but having your pet micro chipped is much, much better. If your pet does have a tag, make sure it includes your name, telephone number and an emergency contact.
  5. Create your own emergency “toolkit” for your pet.  Some items to include would be your pet’s medical records (store in a Ziploc bag in case of water-damage), a first aid kit, pet carrier or crate, leash, food and water (enough for a few days), bowls, litter, medication, pet soap and a recent photograph of your pet for identification purposes.

Bottom line is this: if you are proactive and have a plan in place before an emergency situation happens, both you and your pet will have a much better chance of being reunited safely and happily when things begin to get back to normal.