Tips for preparing your pets in case of an emergency
We do all we can to keep our pets safe and healthy. We take them for regular vet checkups, keep their vaccinations up-to-date, make sure they don’t get into foods or situations that can harm them. But what about the unexpected threats?
If the recent hurricanes and firestorms have taught us anything, it’s that we can’t be complacent when it comes to being prepared for whatever disaster might befall us.
Here are some tips for preparing for an emergency to ensure we get our pets to safety.
• Make an agreement with your neighbors or a friend that lives close by. If you aren’t home when an emergency happens, you’ll want someone you trust to take charge of your pets and get them to safety.
• Have your pets microchipped and have them wear other identification tags. Both will increase your chances of locating your pet should you become separated.
• Pack a bag. Just as you have an earthquake preparedness kit for you and your human family members (you do have an earthquake kit, don’t you?), you’ll need one for your pets. Fill it with food and water (enough for at least three days); a leash and collar; any medicine they’re receiving; copies of their medical records; a first aid kit that includes cotton bandage rolls, tape and scissors, antibiotic ointment, surgical gloves, isopropyl alcohol, saline solution and flea and tick medication; toys and treats; blankets; a bed for them; a photo of you and your pet to help with identification if you become separated; and sanitation products (litter and a box for cats; paper towels, plastic trash bags and chlorine bleach).
• Have a crate or carrier that you can use to safely transport your pet, and keep them secure should you end up camping out. It should be large enough for the animal to stand up and turn around in.
• Many shelters are unequipped to accept pets, so identify shelters at various locations from your home that you can rely on to accept pets. It’s hard to know where you might be evacuating to, so cast your net in various places. Don’t forget to look for hotels that also accept pets.
• Prepare a list of emergency veterinarian hospitals in the general Bay Area in case your pet needs care and you can’t get to your regular vet.
• If you have farm animals, you’ll need to scope out places you can take and house them. In the Wine Country fires, county fairgrounds unaffected by the blaze have opened up their barns and corrals for temporary shelter. You also can look for places that normally board larger animals, such as private stables, to see if they would be willing to take your animals in an emergency.
• All animals should have identification markings.
• You’ll most likely need to transport your own animals. Do you have the right equipment? If not, contact friends who have horse trailers and other large vehicles and make arrangements to use them in an emergency.
• If you have to leave farm animals behind, be sure to leave plenty of food, water and bedding as it could be several days before you’ll be allowed to return to them.
A woman walks a dog outside the Tubbs fire evacuation center at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa.