Emergency Preparedness for Your Pet
Disaster strikes when you least expect, so it’s important to be prepared.
After recent earthquakes here in New Zealand and natural disasters abroad, many people are beginning to realise the importance of creating an emergency plan ahead of time. This plan should include not only family members, but also pets.
Natural disasters are just as dangerous for our four-legged friends as they are for us. Almost three-quarters of New Zealand families own a pet, and as pet owners, it’s our responsibility to make sure that our pets are safe in the event of a flood, fire, or earthquake. Here are some tips to help you prepare yourself and your pet for the unexpected.
Have an Emergency Plan in Place
An emergency plan ensures that if a natural disaster is heading your way, you can safely evacuate as soon as possible. It’s best to plan to bring your pets with you in an emergency such as an earthquake. Leaving them at home can be dangerous, and you may not be able to return to feed them in a timely manner. Nearby animal shelters will likely be closed or overfilled.
You should draw up an emergency plan that the entire family agrees upon, and make sure to practice evacuation drills on a regular basis. This way, every member of the family knows their role when packing up and leaving the area, including pets.
Keep Your Dog Fit
Much like the importance of keeping fit for people, it’s also essential that your dog is exercised all year-round so that he or she would be in peak condition to deal with whatever disaster may strike. Although it may be tempting to stay indoors when the weather is bad in New Zealand, that’s no reason to stop your dog from being active. There are plenty of ways to keep your dog fit indoors, from seeking treats to playing hide and seek with you.
Prepare a Pet Survival Kit
You should have kits stored in your home that will make it easier to pack up and go in the event of an emergency. Your pet should also have its own get-away bag that includes:
- A carrier or lead for transportation
- Lead or rope
- Veterinary records, microchip details and photographs of your animals
- Extra blankets and bedding
- Bottled water, food, and bowls
- Plastic bags and gloves for waste
- A collar with an ID tag that includes name, address, and telephone number
- Medications and prescriptions
- A first aid kit
- A list of pet-friendly shelters
- Familiar toys
- Cleaning supplies
This kit can double as a survival kit if you get stuck at home without water or power. You should keep it stored in the garage and check on a regular basis to ensure that food and medications haven’t passed their expiry date.
Get Your Dog Microchipped
Even if your dog has a collar or an ID tag, you should still microchip your pet in case this tag gets lost or torn off. Microchipping allows you to locate a missing pet easily. If your pet is found by animal control or by a civilian, the chip can be scanned to bring up the address on file. Implanting a microchip is relatively inexpensive and will help to give you peace of mind if your pet goes missing during an emergency.
If your home is in the path of a fire, flood, earthquake, or another natural disaster, you may find you and your pet’s health at risk. You can keep your four-legged friends safe by keeping yourself prepared for any emergency.
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Thanks to Lucy Diamond at smartdogowners.com for preparing this article for the NZCAR