Do you know what to do for your pets when a disaster occurs? Since any disaster can strike at any time it is crucial to be as best prepared as possible, as this will enable you to not only save your own life buy also the lives of your cats and dogs. Here are a few points to consider when creating your own disaster checklist:
1. Position a sticker with the words ‘Animals Inside’ either on a front window or your front door of your house or apartment. This will help alert firemen and other people to the fact that you have pets inside your home, in case of a fire or other emergency and you are not home.
2. Always keep your pets’ carriers and leashes in an easily accessible location. Clean the carriers once a week so that they are not too dusty when the time comes for you to use them in an emergency. You especially do not want to be searching through your house looking for carriers and leashes if you have to leave your home in a hurry.
Make friends with your neighbors:
1. Once you feel that you can trust your neighbors, it is advisable to give them a spare key to your home and to ask for one in return for their home as well. By swapping keys, you and your neighbor can enter each other’s homes quickly to reach your pets in case something should happen to either of you or to your homes.
2. Hold a neighborhood meeting and devise an emergency plan with your neighbors. Create a laminated card with your contact information such as all your contact numbers and the phone numbers of your immediate family and give them to your neighbors.
3. You should also include the following information on such an ‘Emergency Contact Card’:
a. How many pet you have.
b. The species of your pets.
c. Where your pets sleep or live in your home.
d. The names of your pets and how they can be called, e.g. by whistling.
Going on Vacation
Most pet owners leave their pets in the care of either someone they know or with a pet sitting service company. Before leaving, make sure that you can trust the person who will be taking care of your pets whilst you are on vacation. Double check references of any pet sitting service before leaving your pets in their care. Make sure that the pet sitter or other person who is taking care of your pets, understands what to do in case of an emergency and be sure to leave contact numbers where you can be reached during your vacation.
Things to consider:
1. Will your sitter take your pets to their home until you return in case of an emergency? If this is not possible, then give them names and telephone numbers of either a friend, family member, or a kennel where they can take your pets.
2. If the area, in which your home is in, is subject to an evacuation, make sure that you have given your sitter the contact details of a family member or friend outside the affected area, who can act as a liaison. This way, if you and your sitter are not able to telephone each other, you can each call the contact who can help relay information.
Your Pet’s Identification
Ensure that all your pets have proper identification and that your last name, telephone number, address, your pet’s name and micro-chip number is on the ID tag.
Important Pet Friendly numbers to store in your address book on your cell phone:
1. Pet Friendly Shelters: Although there are a few animal shelters that do not accept pets in need of temporary shelter, some do. Find out which ones in your area do, before you need to take your pets to one.
2. Pet Friendly Hotels: Know the phone numbers and addresses of a chain of hotels that will accept pets. This ensures that you and your pets will have a place to go no matter which city you find yourself in.
3. Animal Rescue Shelters: By storing the phone number of your local animal shelter in your address book you will be able to help locate your pets’ quicker should you become separated from them for any reason.
In case of an evacuation:
1. Leave your home as quickly as possible and take your pets with you! Never, ever, abandon your pets behind in your home just because you think that you will be able to return later in the day and retrieve them. Most of the time, you will not be permitted to return until the reason for the evacuation is over, which could take a few days.
2. If you are able to drive your vehicle, quickly load up your pets and hit the road. If your destination doesn’t allow pets, change your destination. If that is not possible, call your back up family member or friend first. If they are not able to help you out, you should then call your pet friendly lodging or rescue shelter options.
3. If you are not able or allowed to take your pets with you to a safe place, and you have no choice but to evacuate, make sure that you give your pets the best chances to stay alive. Make sure that you never leave your dog chained up outside or in an outside kennel. Leave plenty of food and water out in as many dishes as you can. Most pets that are left alone will usually rely on their natural instincts in order to survive.
Photo Credit: ╚ SεΣ ╤hi∩Gs DiƒFerεNT└y ╗