Everyday emergencies often occur when we least expect them, and creating an emergency plan can help keep you and your family calm and know what action to take if the unthinkable does arise. They can also be extremely beneficial if you live in an area at higher risk of experiencing a natural disaster such as flooding or an earthquake.

Preparedness is just as important for the non-human members of your family, and an increasing number of responsible and caring owners are now also putting emergency plans in place for their pets. Doing so can help keep you, your pet and any first responders that may come to your property safe from further danger.

Here is our guide to how to create an emergency plan for your pets.

Identification for your pet
The hours and days after an emergency can be somewhat chaotic so trying to reunite an owner with their pet can be difficult. While microchipping is one of the best ways to prove that your pet belongs to you, it does require the person that finds your pet getting to someone with a microchip scanner. Therefore, it is advisable to both microchip and supply your pet with identification such as a tag on his collar. Include both your cell number and someone else you know well, just in case you can’t be reached. It will be much easier for someone to use a regular tag ID to contact you quickly. And don’t forget to ensure the details included on his tag and microchip are kept up to date.

Finding shelter
If you require alternative accommodation during an emergency or disaster, you may not be able to take your pet with you. Therefore, it is important to be prepared by knowing where you can take your pet to shelter if the situation calls for it. Make a note of local friends or family that may be able to accommodate your pet, and back that up with a list of pet-friendly hotels and hostels.

Prepare an emergency kit
Both human and animal family members will benefit from an emergency kit if you need to leave your home and the immediate area in a hurry. Having the necessary supplies can alleviate some of the stress experienced in the hours and days after an emergency or disaster. When it comes to an emergency kit for your pet, some of the things that you should include are:

– At least two weeks’ worth of food and water for each pet.

– Bowls to eat and drink out of.

– Bathroom supplies such as a litter tray for cats or poop bags for dogs.

– Leash or harness.

– Carrier or cage that is a suitable size, with towels or blankets inside.

– A favourite toy to help soothe your pet.

– At least two weeks’ worth of medications that your pet takes, plus associated items such as treats to help your pet take them.

– Medical records for your pet, including their vaccination record.

– A handout containing a photograph of each pet and any important information such as your contact details, our vet’s details, any behavioral problems that your pet has, details of any medications or allergies etc. Our veterinarian will be able to tell you which information about your animal is most important to include.

Arrange nearby support for non-emergency situations
There may be occasions where you are not able to get home to your pet. While this isn’t necessarily an emergency, it is still necessary to get someone to provide the care that your pet needs. If you have a neighbor or nearby friend that you trust, ask them if they would be willing to be your backup should a situation arise where you can’t get home. Make sure it is someone that your pet is comfortable with, and leave a copy of your emergency plan handout somewhere prominent, along with details as to where your backup can find the food, water, and medications needed to administer the appropriate care.

If you would like further advice about what to include in an emergency plan for your pets, contact Guardian Animal’s office. By being suitably prepared, you can ease the stress and help keep your family and your pet’s safe if an emergency or disaster arises.