Animals matter in disasters - your pets are a part of your family so 'make a plan' to keep them safe!
The recent earthquake has just made us all aware of how important it is to be prepared for a disaster. While an earthquake is terrifying for us, it is equally so for our pets. They get scared too. We know how important it is to make sure that our families are safe but what can we do for our pets?
There are three essential steps that you should take in preparation for any emergency:
- Create an emergency plan
- Prepare a get-away kit
- Prepare a full survival kit, including provisions for your animals
PET EMERGENCY PLAN
What can you do to prepare for a disaster? Follow this plan to include your pet during a disaster:
- Include pet food in your survival kit. Remember when working out how much water you need for your family to include some for your pet too.
- Make sure your pet has up-to-date identification so you can be reunited if you get separated. Microchipping is one of the best forms of identification ― this can be done through your local vet ― make sure your pet’s microchip is registered with the national microchip database. This will give you and your pet a greater chance to be reunited.
- Create a Pet Disaster Survival Kit. Make sure it is easy to access and, if time permits, take it with you if you have to leave your property.
- If you must leave your home quickly, collect your pet, cover them with a towel or blanket or put them in a pet carrier (if pet is small) or put on a lead (if pet is large). You can also use a pillowcase for a cat or small animal and hold/tie this closed at the top. Leave their toys and bedding behind ― urgency and safety is paramount. If it is safe to do so, it would also help to leave a note on the front door for emergency services stating that you and your pets have left the property.
- If leaving is not possible, keep your pets close to you. Do not let them crawl under beds or tables, as they may be crushed (earthquake). For your safety, as your pet may be terrified, cover and wrap them with a towel or blanket.
- After the crisis has past, comfort your pet with soothing words and lots of cuddles.
If you have to leave, take your pet with you. Your pet cannot survive without you and you may not be able to return to your property for several days.
A get-away kit is a 'grab-and-run' kit, full of items that will allow you to look after your pets in the heat of the moment immediately after a disaster. Ideally you should store this by your back door, or in an easily accessible place.
Your get-away kit should include:
- Carry boxes for transporting your pets that need it
- Lead or rope
- Vaccination, veterinary records, and photographs of your animals
- A blanket
- Bottled water
- A bowl
- Some food and treats
- Plastic bags/doggie bags
- Collar and large name tag, to include the animals name, address and telephone number
- A first aid kit for animals and a basic animal aid first aid book
In evacuation emergencies such as the New Orleans floods, victims were unable to evacuate with their beloved pets and many chose to remain behind with their animals.
If you have to leave without taking your pet it is essential the animal is microchipped beforehand, as your pet will be a lot easier to locate when you return. The recent Christchurch earthquakes had a very successful relocation rate for animals that were microchipped.
PET DISASTER SURVIVAL KIT:
- A pet carrier or crate
- Pet collar, lead and/or harness
- A pet towel or blanket
- Pet identification – a collar and tag with your contact number, if your pet is not microchipped
- Enough food and water for seven days
- Enough medication (if needed) for seven days
- Bowls for food and water
- A tin opener
- Photos of your pet
- Emergency contact list for your local authorities, vet and animal rescue centres
- Litter tray and litter (for cats)
- Poo bags (for dogs)
- Cleaning solution
- A backpack or container to carry everything
Click here to download a copy of this plan and survival kit list.