Fires, Earthquakes, Floods…
It goes without saying that the key word here is “preparedness.” The SPCA and the Southern California Humane Society recommend that we be prepared to care for our companion animals – as well as ourselves – in the event of a disaster such as an earthquake, fire or flood. Please use the following checklist as a guide in preparing a “Disaster Kit” for your pet(s) before an actual emergency situation arises.
• A current copy of vaccination records. Most kennels will not accept an animal without proof of vaccines. For rabies you’ll probably need an actual certificate; for everything else an itemized copy of your vet bill should be sufficient.
• A photo of your pet(s) in case you become separated.
• The telephone number and address of your regular vet as well as your local animal emergency hospital.
• A detailed list – drug name, dose and frequency – of your pet’s current medications.
• A collar, a leash and a carrier to allow for safe transportation. For large carries, wheels are available and recommended in case a panic sets in and you need to move your pet(s) quickly. An extra collar and leash will prove helpful if you encounter a lost or stray dog.
• ID tags. Ideally, your animals should be wearing these at all times, even if they’ve been microchipped, but if you tend to take them off, please make sure that there’s an extra set in your kit. The risk of becoming separated isn’t over until everyone is back home.
• At a minimum, a one-week supply of all current medications, over-the-counter as well as by prescription. In the event of a large-scale disaster, medications will be distributed to humans first – please keep this in mind when determining how much you include in your kit.
• At minimum, a three day supply of both food and water.
• Bowls for food and water.
• If necessary, a can opener and utensils.
• A variety of treats. These will help to relieve stress and may also be used to lure lost or stray animals to safety.
• Toys. These too will relieve stress and provide comfort/necessary exercise.
• A first aid kit. This should include an antiseptic, a topical antibiotic ointment, gauze pads, and dressings.
• A soft muzzle (commonly known as a groomer’s muzzle). If your pet is injured, or you encounter one that is, they might bite out of pain and/or fear. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that you muzzle any injured animal before handling.
• A blanket and a towel. These may be used for carrying injured animals, making bandages or as bedding. They can also help to relieve stress.
• Dry shampoo.
• A pooper-scooper.
• Cat litter and disposable aluminum foil pans (during a disaster, there’s no telling where you might be staying for a few days).
Hopefully, these kits will sit in our closets and gather dust forever, but just knowing that they’re there and that our pets will be cared for properly if we do have to leave in a hurry, is well worth any minor inconvenience we may face now.