Severe Weather/Emergency Preparedness Plan
Severe weather can show up without warning. Do you have a plan in place for severe weather or an emergency? Do you have a bag filled with everything your pet needs for an extended period of time? The best thing you can do is have a plan in place before the weather hits.
Having your pet’s essentials ready in an emergency bag will take a lot of stress off of you. When the severe weather arrives, all you have to remember is to grab your pets, their emergency kit, and head to shelter. Below, we discuss how to prepare for a severe weather/emergency and we will provide a list of items you should have in your pet’s emergency kit.
How to Prepare
Pick a “safe room”
First, you need to pick a safe place in your home that will accommodate you, your family, and your pets. Put your family’s emergency kit and your pet’s kit in the designated safe room. Close off unsafe nooks and crannies that your frightened pet may want to hide in. Move dangerous objects out of the safe room. Some objects you may want to remove would be sharp tools or toxic chemicals.
Make sure your pet has some form of identification. In the event that your pet gets separated from you during, or after, the severe weather, this is extremely important. If your pet does not have proper identification, he/she is less likely to return home. A few examples of ID’s are microchips, rabies tags, and custom tags with your personal information on it.
Never leave your animals outside in severe weather. If you have outside pets, please take them inside before the severe weather hits. If you try to gather your pet during the storm, they may run off or hide before you can get to them.
Find a safe place to stay
If your home is uninhabitable after the severe weather, or if you have to evacuate, make sure you have a place to stay that allows pets. Do not leave your pet at home. If your home isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. Check to see to if you can stay with family members or call around to hotels.
Some hotels are pet friendly, you just have to ask. If the place you are staying does not allow pets, you can call boarding facilities, vet clinics, and pet sitters to see if they offer any type of assistance in emergency situations.
In the event you can’t make it home
If you are away and unable to get home before severe weather hits, make sure you know someone who is willing to care for your pet. If you have a neighbor or a friend that your pet is familiar with, give them a key and have them check on your pet or take your pet home with them until you are able to make it there. If your pet takes medications, make sure the person watching your pet knows how to administer them.
After the disaster
Do not allow your pet to roam freely after severe weather. Keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier until after you walk the premises and make sure everything is safe. Your pet may act differently after the event due to stress. Try to get back to your normal routine as soon as possible. If after a week your pet isn’t back to normal, call your veterinary office and schedule an appointment.
Depending on the situation, it may be a few days before everything goes back to normal. So you need to make sure you have enough supplies to get you through weather. We suggest that you pack enough items to last 5 – 7 days. Here are some of the items we recommend you put in your pet’s emergency kit:
- Garbage bags – for waste disposal
- Extra leashes, harnesses, collars
- Current photo – in case your pet runs away
- Medical records and other important documentation
- Paper towels
- Food & water bowls
- First aid supplies – bandages, wraps, gauze pads, peroxide
- Duct tape – if carrier or food/water bowls get broken
- Can opener – if you pet eats canned food
- Jacket/sweater if it is cold