Disaster Preparedness for Dogs and Pets

In light of the ongoing weather disaster in Texas and the Gulf of Mexico, I thought I’d repost this piece on disaster preparedness for you and your pet. Also, read this story from the New York Times about not abandoning pets during Hurricane Harvey.

Hurricane season officially started on June 1. It’s definitely a good time to make or revisit your disaster preparation plan for you, your dog, and other pets. Remember, disaster can strike anywhere, any time. It’s not just people who live in or near flood, landslide, or earthquake zones, or areas where there’s extreme weather like tornadoes and hurricanes, who need to be prepared. I never thought I’d experience severe weather in New York City, but just check out the picture below. Super Storm Sandy was powerful enough to move cars around. We were without power for a week. The emergency kit I’d made a year earlier came in super handy! We had flashlights, batteries, and other necessities right at our fingertips.

The Aftermath of Super Storm Sandy in New York City

First off you should have a plan for yourself. Click here for a ton of info on how to get prepared. The link takes you to New York City’s Emergency Management page, but the info there applies to everyone. And here’s a link to a recent NY Times article on how to make the perfect “Go Bag.” In addition to preparing for yourself, you should also have your dog and other pets ready for a disaster. Store a pet emergency kit and leashes as close to an exit as possible. Make sure that everyone in the family knows where it is, and that it is clearly labeled and easy to carry. Items to consider keeping in or near your emergency pack include:

  • Pet first-aid kit and guide book (ask your vet what to include)
  • Three to seven days’ worth of canned (pop-top) or dry food (be sure to rotate every two months)
  • Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
  • Litter or paper toweling
  • Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
  • Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
  • Pet feeding dishes and water bowls
  • Extra collar or harness as well as an extra leash
  • Photocopies and/or a digital copy (e.g. thumb drive) of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires (remember, food and medications need to be rotated out of your emergency kit—otherwise they may go bad or become useless)
  • At least seven days’ worth of bottled water for each person and pet (store in a cool, dry place and replace every two months)
  • A traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet
  • Flashlight
  • Blanket
  • Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make “Lost” posters)
  • Especially for cats: pillowcase, toys, scoop-able litter
  • Especially for dogs: toys and chew toys, a week’s worth of cage liner
emergency preparedness
Calm Before the Storm: Bodhi Awaiting the Arrival of Hurricane Matthew

For more on pets and disaster prep, read this interview with FEMA Task Force Leader, Paul Tashjian.


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