We’re accustomed to seeing terrible scenes on the news showing people devastated by environmental calamities and industrial disasters around the world. Behind those scenes of human misery are the animals whose lives are also wrecked in these situations. You can’t disaster-proof your world, but you can be prepared, and those preparations should include measures for the safety and comfort of your pets just in case a catastrophe hits.
Top of the list of preparedness measures is a pet care kit. One of the most important items is a secure carrier, preferably with bedding or a blanket. For dogs and amenable cats, have a collar or harness and leash on hand. Next up is food – dry food is always more compact and lightweight. Water is crucial, but don’t forget that it’s not much good without a bowl to put it in.
A supply of plastic bags will help deal with sanitation issues, and some newspaper in the bottom of the carrier could also be useful. If appropriate, including a toy or two, or other familiar items, might help with the stress of dislocation if you have to evacuate your home.
If your pet is on medication make sure it’s with your kit, along with details of your veterinarian, and health records (e.g. vaccinations). A pet first aid kit could be a lifesaver. You can buy them ready-made but it’s also easy to compile one yourself, tailored to your pet’s specific needs. Bandages and tape, dressings, saline solution and antiseptic wipes are basic things to include, scissors and/or tweezers and latex gloves are also important.
Having these things ready in case of disaster could be vital, but there’s a lot more you can do as well. In case your pet goes missing, make sure you have a photo or photos. Micro-chipping is the best way to be certain of being reunited with your pet if the worst happens and you get separated.
If your pet’s at home and you aren’t during an environmental disaster or other incident, it can be very worrying. Preparedness can at least allay some of the anxiety. Stickers on windows will alert emergency workers to the fact that pets are in the home. With luck, you may have neighbours or friends you can rely on to evacuate your pets if required. Make sure you have their contact numbers with you when you’re away from your home.
You may be called upon to leave before an environmental catastrophe hits. It’s helpful to pre-research places that will accommodate you as well as your pets, if the need arises. If it seems likely that you’ll have to leave in a hurry, don’t leave the pets running free till the last minute, even if they don’t like the carrier. In a disaster things can happen fast, so be ready to up and go at a few moments’ notice.
It won’t take you long to prepare yourself and assemble the things your pets need in a crisis situation. Even if it never happens, do it – for your peace of mind and their safety.