Pets can be considered part of the family. Make sure that you have a workable plan in place to take care of your pets in the event of an emergency. There are a lot of things that you can do ahead of time to ensure your pet’s safety, survival and comfort through most emergencies.
In the event that you have to evacuate, you may not be able to take your pet with you. Most emergency shelters will not take pets for a number of reasons. Service animals are the exception. So, it is important to be able to do what you can for your pet before you leave, or in the event that your pet gets separated from you. I’ll write more about what to do if you have to evacuate and leave your pet at home.
Keep a collar, a current license and current ID tags on your pet at all times. You never know when disaster may strike, and having identification on your pet increases the chances that you will be reunited if you separate. You may also want to take advantage of a pet ID chip that can be read at vets or animal rescue organizations. Also have a recent photo of your pet with you.
If your pet is the kind that can be placed in a cage or carrier, get it used to that space. This way your pet won’t be stressed later if it has to be confined or transported.
For pets that aren’t easily transported, secure their environment as best you can. Make sure that cages are securely latched, aquariums are on the floor or low stands, etc.
Establish a list of neighbors or nearby friends who would be willing to assist your pet if you cannot make it back home.
Just as it is a good idea to have a emergency to go kit for the human members of your family, it is also a good idea to have one for your pet. Your kit should include a pet carrier (in a pinch, a pillow case may work for some cats and small pets) and a leash if applicable. You’ll need food, water and medicine, a bowl (non-spill is best), a manual can opener for food (a plastic lid would be nice, too), plastic bags, litter and a littler box for cats, and a copy of your pet’s vaccination and health history.