Emergency Prep 101: Pet Evacuation Plan
Being a responsible pet owner means preparing for the unexpected.
Being a responsible pet owner means preparing for the unexpected. How a family plans to handle its pets is often overlooked during the planning period, and that leaves some pet owners scrambling during times of stress. To help you and your pet get ready for disaster, we’ve put together tips and a checklist of emergency essentials.
Where will you go?
In many disasters, evacuation is part of the experience. Before a disaster strikes, locate the pet-friendly hotels in your surrounding areas. Collect their phone numbers and keep them in your disaster backpack so you can call and make the reservation. Also, if a disaster is imminent, as in an approaching firestorm or flood, make the hotel reservation before the evacuation. The hotel may give some type of disaster discount as a community service, so be sure to ask.
- Call local shelters in advance to find out if they provide emergency housing for evacuated pets.
- If you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets. Consider loved ones or friends outside of your immediate area who would be willing to host you and your pets in an emergency.
- Make a back-up emergency plan in case you can't care for your animals yourself. Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives. Make sure someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days.
- Animals have instincts about severe weather changes. They will often isolate themselves if they are afraid. Bringing pets inside early can stop them from running away. Never leave a pet outside or tied up during a storm.
- Photos! Before disaster strikes, take photos of your pets and create simple flyers displaying their photo and your phone number in case you get separated. Save the flyers on your phone so you can email them to local pet businesses in case your pet goes missing.
- Identification! Make sure pets are micro-chipped and wearing a tag with your phone number.
- Plan your on-foot escape route in advance in case you can’t get to your car and have to walk or run.
Prepare a pet supply kit
It may not seem necessary today, but if you find yourself in an emergency situation, having the proper supplies (including food, medications, veterinarian contact, etc.) already packed and ready will be a huge help.
Your pet disaster kit should include:
- A crate or carrier to transport your pet
- Cat litter and litter box
- Collars with ID tags (and remember to update your pet’s microchip information)
- An extra leash for each pet
- Towel, mat or pet bed for your dog to sit on
- Bottled water and collapsible water bowl
- Three-day food supply
- Toys and treats
- Medication (If your pet is diabetic, talk with your veterinarian about packing glucose paste in case you leave without his insulin)
In a sealed plastic baggie be sure to pack:
- Veterinary records and phone numbers
- Pet insurance information
- Microchip information
- Photos of your pets with missing pet flyers
- A list of pet-friendly hotels and resources with phone numbers
- Pet first aid kit which can be purchased at pet stores or assembled yourself. Include basic first aid items like self-clinging bandaging, gauze pads, antiseptic, hydrogen peroxide, cool pack, thermometer, blunt-end scissors, saline solution, tweezers and a soft muzzle in case your dog needs treatment and becomes fear aggressive.
To help pet owners prepare for the unexpected, State Farm® has expanded their alliance with Trupanion®, the leading provider of medical insurance for pets. Customers in 50 states and the District of Columbia can now visit their State Farm agent or enroll online for Trupanion medical insurance for pets.
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