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The Ultimate Disaster Checklist: 9 Things All Pet Owners Need to Help Prepare for an Emergency

When disaster strikes, it's important to be prepared. Being prepared isn't just for people, this includes having a plan for your pet as well. Pets can get injured in emergencies too and may need first aid. That's why it's important for pet owners to have a plan and a pet emergency kit ready to go. In this blog post, we will discuss the ultimate checklist to help you prepare, and the items you need to help keep your pet safe and healthy in the event of an emergency.

  1. First-Aid Kit: First and foremost, pet owners should have a pet first aid kit. This kit should include items like gauze, Band-Aids, scissors, and antiseptic wipes. Having these supplies on hand will help you to be able to treat your pet's injuries quickly and effectively. For a complete list of items, visit the American Red Cross's website which has extensive information on Pet Disaster Preparedness and Recovery. They even have an App you can download with more information on pet first aid!

  2. Food and Water Supply: In addition to a pet first aid kit, pet owners should also have a supply of food and water for their pets. If you are evacuating your home, you may not be able to bring your pet's food with you. That's why it's important to have at least a week's worth of food and water stored away in your emergency kit. Make sure to check your food stores and be sure the food you've set aside hasn't expired.

  3. Extra Leashes, Collars, or Carriers: For cats, rabbits, or birds, you'll want an extra carrier placed next to your emergency kit. During an actual emergency, we don't have a lot of time to act so having an extra supply of essential items is crucial so you can focus on exiting the premises safely and quickly. Collars need to be securely fastened so they can't fall off and ID tags need to be checked for the correct contact information.

  4. A Copy of a Current Photo: In the event of an emergency, having a current photo of your pet is also recommended. If you lose your pet during an emergency, this will assist you in identifying him or her and increases the chances that you will find them quickly.

  5. Emergency Contact Information: Prepare a list of people who can care for your pets in an emergency. Make a note of the phone numbers and keep them with your kit so you'll have access to them in an emergency. Not all hotels are pet-friendly so it's nice to have a backup plan just in case!

  6. An Escape Plan: Plan your escape route ahead of time. Know which hotels and motels along your evacuation route will accept you and your pets in an emergency. Call ahead for reservations if you know you may need to evacuate. Ask if no-pet policies could be waived in an emergency.

  7. Important Medical Information: Keep a physical copy as well as an electronic copy of your pet's medical history. The medical history should include the following: The name of their regular vet along with their contact information, a copy of their vaccine reminders to prove they are up to date, the date of their last exam, their microchip number, any medical problems they have, behavior problems, and any medications they are currently taking. Most of this information can be sent to you by your vet via email so you can keep an electronic version of that information handy if you need it.

  8. Pet Poison Helpline: Keep a copy of the Pet Poison Helpline's contact info in your kit! Anything can happen during an emergency, including your pet ingesting something potentially toxic by accident. If this happens you can call the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-766. There, you will be able to talk to a vet professional and get advice on what to do if your pet ate something poisonous.

  9. Practice Drills: Practice before an actual emergency occurs! Yes, having practice drills and training your pets to "leash up" or willingly go into their carrier on cue can be immensely helpful and will decrease everyone's stress level when you actually have to evacuate especially for cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, and birds!!

As a pet owner, you never want to think about your pet being in an emergency situation. But the truth is, accidents happen, and it's always better to be prepared. By following the tips on this list, you can help ensure that both you and your pet are ready for anything. Now go out there and enjoy quality time with your furry (or not-so furry) best friend! They're counting on you to be prepared!

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