Emergency Preparedness for Pets (and the Whole Family!)

pet emergencies“When disaster strikes…” We’ve all heard that line and know that emergencies and disasters certainly happen – but they happen to other people, right? Unfortunately, most of us will encounter at least one emergency in our life, whether it affects us or our pets. That’s why being prepared, whether it’s related to health, the weather, or a specific accident, is so important.

Emergency preparedness for pets is similar to that for people. It requires a plan and the tools and knowledge to respond quickly. Are you and your family prepared?

Emergency Preparedness for Pets: Establishing a Plan

While an emergency isn’t the most enjoyable topic, being prepared requires planning. This means anticipating a possible evacuation (fire, hurricane, etc.), as well as planning for a health emergency or accident. Many of the ways you might prepare for your family’s safety is similar to what your pet might need, but with additional challenges.

An evacuation emergency plan with your pet might include:

  • A list of pet friendly hotels, kennels, or people with whom your pet can stay (most emergency shelters do not allow pets)
  • Ensuring your pet’s ID tags and microchip information is current
  • Having at least a few current photos of your pet (should he or she become lost)
  • A list of your pet’s daily needs for quick reference (food, medicine, extra water, bowls, etc.)
  • Ensuring that you have a secure crate or carrier with your contact information affixed on the outside
  • Having a few back-up leashes, harnesses, and collars with ID tags
  • Complete medical records and list of medications

It’s extremely important to consider where your pet might safely stay if your family had to be evacuated. In the best scenario, everyone could stay with a relative or friend, but in some cases, it may mean finding a pet friendly hotel. Leaving a pet behind is dangerous, as pets cannot fend for themselves and the length of an evacuation is often unknown.

A pet health or injury emergency plan might include:

  • Contact information for your veterinarian and nearby emergency clinics
  • Important numbers in the event of a pet poisoning, such as the Pet Poison Helpline
  • A pet first aid kit
  • Basic first aid skills that can apply to human and furry family members (the American Red Cross offers several classes)
  • Your pet’s medical records in an easy-to-find location, along with a crate/carrier and leash/harness and collar

Pet First Aid Kit

It’s likely you have a first aid kit or two for human family members, but it’s also a great idea to have a kit that’s specific to your pet (one in the car, one in the home). There are many types of kits you can purchase (from basic to more robust). You can also make your own by referencing the AVMA’s suggested list of first aid items.

When you’re prepared and know how to respond to an evacuation or a medical emergency, you can make the best use of time in a stressful situation. Keeping all your pet’s necessary items in one location is ideal, since the last thing you want to do is waste time scouring the house looking for a leash.

The team at Berkeley are experts in dealing with emergencies related to our furry friends. If you ever have any questions or concerns about these topics, we are here to help.

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