I’ve had cats and I’ve had dogs. Regardless, they have always felt very much a part of my family. My concern for their care in an emergency is every bit as important to me as anyone else in my family. Here are some tips for you to implement in order to have peace of mind in case of an emergency.
1) Start training your pets now how to properly greet and interact with others. You must teach them when it is appropriate to “bark” now or you could compromise your safety in the future.
2) Be sure that you have a sufficient “grab and go” pack for your pets in the event you have to leave your home immediately for 2 to 3 days. The items in this bag should contain food, water plus a container, a familiar toy, spare leash and collar, a blanket and some bedding.
3) Be sure that you have the means of filing their nails. In the event that you have to trek a ways, long nails will get infected and complicate their travel. It’s surprising how many people who don’t file their pets nails and rely on the groomer to do so instead.
4) Have familiar toys stored for your pet. Be mindful to play with them in the same fashion they are used to when you find yourself having to rough it while you’re riding out a disaster.
5) Have teeth cleaning supplies available. In an emergency, it’s very likely that your pet will be eating—or attempting to—foreign items to their diet. These items will be foreign to their dental care as well. In the event of an emergency, a trip to the vet will not be feasible, so be sure that you have supplies for the care of their teeth as well as your own.
6) Rather than just a collar, have a halter for them. In an emergency, your pet may have plenty of reasons to respond to their surroundings differently that you are accustomed to. A harness/halter is more sturdy in maintaining their positions and less stressful for their neck. Be sure the halter is rugged. While the cute harnesses are fashionable, they may do little to ensure the safety of your pets should you have to head for the hills.
7) Be sure that you have a secure means of tethering them. Allowing your dogs or cats to roam wild in an emergency state is not smart! I don’t mean to be overly graphic, but people and/or animals may see them as food instead of family members. Keep them with you for your own safety as well as that of others. Consider a stake in the ground and a sturdy adjustable leash. You don’t want your pet resorting to his natural instincts of running in a pack with other strays. Plan on keeping him with you as a part of your family if you want him to remain a part of your family.
8 ) Store their breed and medical documentation in a waterproof package. Just as you would want your valuable documents for your identification and health, you will also want them for your pets as well.
9) Prepare for medical fix-ups for your pets. Have bandages, sewing kits, super glue, brushes, picks, tweezers, and other medically necessary items. Should you have a prescription for your pet, be sure to have some extra accessible to ride out an unexpected event as well.
10) Think in advance about what you need in order to transport your pet. That might be a carrier, a box, a wagon, etc, since you can’t expect your pet to walk all the time. You may also find that for his own safety you have to confine him.
11) Store a year’s supply of food for your pet. If it’s good advice for you, it’s good advice for them. While you may find yourself thinking they will just live off of spare foods or mice, think twice. Do you want your animals to eat other rabid animals? Do you want your animals to have the most nutrition available to them in order for them to survive a stressful situation the same as you? Of course. Then feed them what they know, and what you are certain contains nutrition for them. If you store the dry food in a plastic sealed bucket with an oxygen packet, it will last much longer than it will in its original packaging.
12) It’s not a bad idea to have some clothing available for your pet. While I’m not an advocate of dressing your pet up regularly, there are at least two items that your pet can use that will save you both a lot of hassle. Get booties for them in the event they have to walk more then they are accustomed to. It will preserve the soft portion of their paws from getting splinters or cuts. Also, get a rain repellant vest for them wear as well. Be sure that it fits them properly. You definitely don’t want it too tight or you’ll have other problems to deal with such as blisters and infections.