Getty ImagesIf you're anything like me, your pets are a part of the family, and going through a disaster not knowing what's happened to them, or how you'll take care of them is a heart wrenching thought. So keep your pets safe, sound and out of harm's way by keeping an emergency kit on hand at all times.
Google "pet emergency kit" or "pet survival kit" and you'll find a range of ready packed gear and first aid accessories. These are fine and dandy, but you can also assemble your own safety stash. Just collect the following staples and store them in an easy-to-access spot:
- A pet first aid kit and first aid book (Petcentric has a great article that can help you compile this kit - and a lot of the items are good to have on hand for humans too)
- Phone numbers of family, friends, animal shelters and your veterinarian
- Medical records and a two-week supply of any medication your pet might need
- Photos of your pet (In case you get separated and need to make posters)
- At least three days' worth of food and water (Don't forget the can-opener, and consider keeping water sanitation tablets on hand as well)
- Portable food and water bowls
- Bedding or blankets, and toys to reduce stress (Blankets also work well to scoop up frantic or frightened pets)
- Your pet's favorite treats
- Leash and harness
- Pet carrier
- Pet sanitation supplies (Portable litter box and litter for cats, newspaper for dogs, and plastic bags to dispose of the waste)
And as long as we're on the subject of safety, here are a few other important points to keep in mind:
Never underestimate the importance of ID. Make sure your pet wears an ID tag at all times, and consider a microchip. Pet ID tags can come off, but a microchip is permanent. And if your pet gets separated from you during a disaster, this proper ID may help bring him home.
Make emergency workers aware. Protect your pets in case of a fire with an emergency pet alert sticker. You can get one free from the ASPCA by going here.
Have a suggestion on integrating pets into your emergency preparedness plan? Share it with the community by leaving a comment below.