According to the APPA (American Pet Product Association) 67% of households in the United States have a pet. Pets have become part of most families and the pets vary as much as individual families. This is why it is important to personalize your own emergency plan for your family as well as the pets you have.
First step is to identify possible emergencies that could occur in your region or specific to your lifestyle. Look for how to identify these in future articles from Know A Vet.
Prepare your pet’s emergency kit, include food, treats, medicine, litter, bedding, extra leashes or harnesses, contact information for local vets and animal shelters, copies of pet medical records, recent picture of you and your pet, and any other special equipment your pet may require, click here for a detailed list provided by the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Make sure tags and microchips are kept up to date so you can get reconnected to your pet if you get separated.
Create a backup plan or buddy system for your pets in case you are not home during an emergency. For large hooved animals, such as horses, if you were not able to relocate to a safe area write your contact information with a permanent marker on the hooves of the animal prior to letting them free.
Get an evacuation sticker and place in a highly visible place next to the front door that lists how many pets and what kind. Once you have safely evacuated during an emergency draw a line and write evacuated, this lets responders know the pets have been safely evacuated. If you have a service animal always make sure you are evacuated with your service animal and by law, you should not be separated from them. This may cause conflict in high stress times if some responders want animals to go to shelter or other safe place.
Last create a plan of how you will locate your pet if separated and temporary housing for your pets if you are not able to return to your home.
Additional resources for Pet Emergency include:
How to integrate service animals in the workplace will be discussed in future in a future issue of Know A Vet newsletter.