Disaster Planning For Your Pet(s) Advanced Preparedness Pays

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Pets are a very important part of most Utah households. It is important to include them in the family disaster plan. A little time spent thinking about possible future disasters can pre-equip you and your pet to survive events such as fires, floods, evacuations, earthquakes, etc. Remember to make plans for the evacuation of miscellaneous pets, such as small mammals, rodents, snakes, birds, etc. Make your emergency plans based on the location in which you live. In Utah emergencies might include severe weather (wind, tornados, rain, hail, snow / blizzard), earthquake, avalanche, mud slide, wild fire, house fire, aircraft or other vehicle crash, flooding, bio-hazard from chemical spill, gas leak, loss of utilities, explosion, vandalism, burglary, rioting and looting, building collapse, lightning strike, terrorist attack, and other local hazards.

Plan to have at least three days’ supplies to care for your pet during emergencies. Plan for three distinct possibilities: (1) you and your pet can stay where you are (2) you and your pet will have to move to another location, or (3) you and your pet will have to move to separate locations from each other. Keep your vehicle well-maintained and keep your gas tank at least half full at all times.

The important items to have already prepared to last for at least three to seven days include: food, water, medicines, vaccination and other veterinary records, pet health insurance information if you have such insurance, a first aid kit, collar with current ID tag, license, and rabies tag; a harness and at least two leashes, a pet crate, items to deal with sanitation issues, a recent color photograph showing both you and your pet, and other items familiar to your pet.

These items should be kept in a travel bag, duffle bag, stuff sack, crate, or carrier. Food, a can opener, and water (2-3 gallons per animal for drinking and cleaning) should be in durable, airtight, re-sealable, and contamination-proof containers. Food items should be regularly rotated to stay fresh. Provide food and water dishes / bowls. Talk to your veterinarian about any medications or first aid items they would recommend you have specifically to care for your pet during an emergency. It is a great idea to have your pet implanted with a microchip, in addition to any other identification tags, as collars or harnesses can be torn off or be removed, while a microchip stays with the animal no matter what. Be sure that any I.D. tag or implanted microchip is current with your name, address, phone number and any other contact information.

Your pet should already be used to spending some non-punishment time in any crate or carrier which you plan to use during an emergency. A crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down. This will make loading them into the crate much simpler when time may be critical. For dogs, you may want to have a lightweight muzzle in case the animal becomes frantic. If you have cats, you may want to include sturdy pillowcases in which to wrap cats that may panic during an emergency. This makes loading them into their crate or carrier much easier. Practice evacuation drills several times a year so that your pets and family members know what is expected of them in the event of an emergency.

Sanitation items might include: diluted bleach (9 parts water to 1 part bleach), liquid soap, pet litter and litter box (for cats), newspapers, paper towels, “pooper scooper”, plastic trash bags, zip-top plastic bags, etc. Make sure that you have identifying information concerning your pet, including: species, breed, age, sex, coloring, markings or other distinguishing characteristics.

Other emergency supplies might include: a flashlight, radio, spare batteries, tools, rope, permanent markers and other writing equipment, paper, candles, area maps, spray paint, baby wipes, protective clothing, extra cash, whistle, emergency blanket, etc.

As much as possible, pre-plan what you will do with your pet in the case of an emergency. Do not leave your pets behind if you have to leave your home. Anticipate where you would go if you had to evacuate from your home. Remember that many shelters for humans do not allow pets. You should make plans should you have to separate from your pet. Is there a friend, family member, relative, neighbor, pet-accepting hotels / motels, boarding kennel, animal control or animal welfare shelter, animal rescue group, veterinarian hospital, groomer, who could house your pet during an evacuation?

Speak to these contacts prior to an emergency to make arrangements for your pet’s housing and care should the need arise. Make sure that they understand your pet’s personal needs, diet, as well as its likes and dislikes. If necessary, make plans about where to meet in the event of an emergency to transfer your pet into their care.

General first aid supplies might include: a pet first-aid book, buffered aspirin, hydrogen peroxide, isopropyl alcohol, mineral oil, pet-safe antiseptic, swabs, styptic powder, Telfa pads, Vet Wrap, cotton Kling wrap, bandage scissors, triple antibiotic ointment, hemostat, Pad Guard spray, toe nail trimmers, tourniquet, sterile eyewash, sterile gauze pads, a roll of cotton gauze, cotton-tip applicators, latex gloves, flea and tick prevention, and adhesive tape.

Make a list of important contact phone numbers and addresses so that you can reach them in a hurry during an emergency. Include the people and businesses in the above-paragraph, as well as

the local American Red Cross, fire department, utility companies, and law enforcement agencies. Prepare a sticker or sign to place in your window or on your door with information about where you can be contacted, as well as the wording “Evacuated With Pets” to let rescue workers know that you and your pets have left the property.

If you begin to suspect that an emergency may arise in your area, gather your pets inside or into a secure area, as when the emergency strikes, the pet may panic or become disoriented and run off or hide.

If you own livestock (horses, cattle, sheep, goats, llamas, pigs, etc.) or fowl, plan for their safe evacuation in advance, also. Speak with other local livestock owners or associations to see if they have already set up evacuation plans. Are stockyard or fairground facilities available during an emergency?

For more emergency preparedness information go to: www.ready.govwww.ready.gov/caringanimals or call 1-800-BE-READY.