Would you be prepared to keep your beloved pet safe if an approaching wildfire or a severe storm like a flood or tornado forced you to evacuate your home? If a friend is watching Fido while you are away and a disaster strikes at home, would they have the necessary information and authority to care for him? Having a plan in place for your special companion should be part of a pet owner’s emergency preparedness kit.
Why You Need to Be Prepared With a Plan
Earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters can be the most stressful and upsetting things to deal with for you and your family – and your pet. It can be even worse if you are not prepared.
You not only need a disaster plan at the ready, but also an emergency kit. When a crisis hits, you need to know where you’re going and have supplies with you to ride out the event. When you have a pet, extra planning is needed to ensure their comfort and wellbeing.
You don’t have to live in the Midwest’s Tornado Alley, earthquake-prone California, or the hurricane magnet Gulf Coast to be susceptible to natural disasters. Catastrophes can happen anywhere at any time. That’s why everyone should have a disaster plan that includes an evacuation strategy, a prearranged meeting place, and an emergency preparedness kit – a “go bag” that contains food, clothes, and other supplies. For a pet owner, the kit should include your pet’s essential items.
Related: Unexpected Ways to Protect Your Pet
If you must evacuate, it’s vital you have a place to go that welcomes pets. This could be a pet-friendly motel or a shelter. These places need to be identified long before an emergency arises and should be included in your disaster plan. Be sure to have several options, since they will likely fill up quickly.
If you cannot find a pet-welcoming place or the ones you chose are booked, you should have alternate options such as a friend, relative, a veterinarian, pet boarding facility, or an animal shelter that can care for your pet. While these are not the most ideal because you cannot be with your pet family member, at least you will have peace of mind knowing your pet will be cared for and safe.
Above all, never leave your pet behind. They could escape or become trapped and get into a life-threatening situation.
What To Include in Your Emergency Kit for Your Pet
To keep your pet safe if a crisis hits, you need supplies and documents. The Centers for Disease Control and the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) recommend these items should be included in your kit specifically for your pet:
- Pet food – enough to last a couple weeks
- Bottled water – at least two weeks’ supply
- Cat litter and boxes
- Water/food bowls – preferably non-spill types
- Your pet’s bed
- Leash, harness, and collar
- Pet carrier
- Waterproof containers to store items
- Identification tag – Be sure all your pets are wearing their ID tags and collars
- Disposable trash bags
- First aid kit
- Flashlight and extra batteries
Documents you need to include are:
- Veterinarian’s contact information
- Your pet’s medical and vaccination records
- Emergency contacts
- Medication prescriptions
- Microchip info
- Recent pictures of your pet
- Rabies certificate
- Rescue Sticker – Placed on your home’s window, it alerts rescuers there are pets inside.
Most of these documents can be easily stored in your Gentreo Digital Family Vault, so you can conveniently access the information anytime, anywhere.
Our pets are like our children. They depend on us for protection and care. Make sure your pet’s needs are covered in your emergency preparedness kit.
Pet Emergency Card
Another important document to have is a Pet Information Card. If you have a medical emergency while away from home and your pet is there waiting for you, the Pet Emergency Card can be a lifesaver for your pet.
The card has your name, your pet’s name, your address, and the name and phone number of your pet’s emergency contact. It can be placed on your key fob or in your wallet. The card reads, “My pet is home alone! If I am injured, please notify the emergency contact on the back of this card.” This alerts first responders that you have a pet at home, and they will be able to notify your contact. Having this card on you ensures your pet will be cared for by someone you trust if something happens to you. Get your free card from Gentreo.
What About Documents to Protect My Pet?
Related: Why Do I Need a Trust for My Pet
If something happens to your pet while in the care of a pet sitter, or if something happens to you while you are away, these pet specific estate planning documents ensure your special friend will be cared for.