September is National Disaster Preparedness Month—Make Sure Your Pets are Prepared Too!
Here in Colorado, we know to be prepared for any kind of weather at any time—and the same should be true in case of disaster. Whether it’s a flood, fire, or blizzard, disasters can happen anytime, anywhere. When creating an emergency plan for your family, don’t forget to include a plan for your pets—they’re part of the family too, after all! Here are some tips on how to make sure your four legged friends will be safe and sound during an emergency.
ID your pet
Make sure your pet’s ID tags are up to date and securely fastened to your pet’s collar. Your pet’s ID tag should include name, address and telephone number. Remember, if your pet gets lost, this is his or her ticket home! For a more permanent form of identification, have your pet microchipped. Then be sure to register the chip and keep your contact information updated at all times. This way, when the chip is scanned, it will be traceable to your current address and phone number. Questions about microchipping? Learn more!
Make a pet “to go” kit
Pets need emergency supplies and traveling kits too. Keep your pet’s “to go” kit packed, ready and easily accessible. These should include more than just food and water. Here’s a quick glance at some of the things you should include:
- Bottled Water
- Veterinary Records
- Leashed (and muzzle, if necessary)
- Contact Info, including photos of your pet
For a complete list on what to include, download this handy sheet provided by PetAid Colorado Disaster Services.
Take your pets with you!
If it’s not safe for you, it’s not safe for your pets! Should you need to evacuate your home, do not leave your pets behind. People often think they will be gone for only a few hours, and then aren’t able to get back to their houses for days or even weeks. Make sure to identify hotels and motels in the area you are evacuating to that allow pets. If you can’t care for your animals yourself during an emergency, make a back-up plan: designate a temporary caregiver or identify shelters that would be able to temporarily take your pet in.
In Case You’re Not at Home
If disaster strikes when you’re away from home, arrange for someone in advance (a neighbor or close-by family or friend) to take your pets and meet you at a specified location. Make sure this person knows your pets well and has access to your home, your contact information, and your pets’ emergency supply kits.
After the Disaster
Monitor your pets closely after a disaster. Familiar places and smells might be gone, so don’t allow your pets to roam loose. They may become confused or scared, and could get lost easily. To help them readjust, try to get them back into their normal routines as soon as possible. If your pets are experiencing any health issues or behavioral problems, contact your veterinarian.
Download these helpful guides:
- Disaster Preparedness for Pets: A Guide from the Humane Society of America
- Saving the Whole Family: A Booklet from the American Veterinary Medical Association
Watch a video:
- How to Prepare a Pet for Disaster
Learn more about local disaster services:
- PetAid Disaster Services