The Ultimate Disaster-Preparedness Guide for Pet Safety, Emergency First-Aid & Evacuation Tips for When Disaster Strikes
Disasters come without notice. They come and disrupt the way daily life functions for masses. Houses are destroyed, services shunned, people are needed to evacuate, or end up injured or worse. Everyone is left affected. The environment, businesses, livelihood, people, and animals. But the degree of loss is higher for those who haven’t prepared at all.
Like we prepare for all monumental things in life to ensure we’re ready on the big day – birthdays, weddings, vacations; one also needs to be prepared for the not so welcomed accidents. Preparedness is all about ensuring you and your family are ready with all the essentials to flee to safety or remain safe during disasters.
Why is it Important for Pet-Parents to be Disaster-Ready?
Our country sees its share of natural disasters from time to time. Among the worst-hit victims are animals just about always. Like the Kerala floods in 2018 where reportedly 80% of animals were killed. Or the more recent Cyclone Fani in Odisha, where the state’s situation report of May 9th claims the death of an estimated 26.15 lakh livestock, more than 75% of the state’s population. The number of dead pets and strays is still unknown, as of the date of writing this article, but history suggests that it’ll be no different.
The animals we bring home are like an extension to our family. Hence, when we prepare to safeguard our families during calamities, we need to prepare for our pets too. Given that pets are not humans, they have different requirements than us. Here’s DawgieBowl’s guide to ensure you and your pet are completely armored and equipped for when disaster strikes.
How to be Ready for Disasters?
Preparation is the most important aspect of being disaster-ready! Your level of preparedness can make a big difference in adversities. The following simple steps can save your pet’s life during a disaster or natural calamity.
Make an Evacuation Plan
Disasters may require you to either stay indoors or evacuate. In the case of evacuation, you should choose to take your pet with you. Never leave your pet behind unless the situation really demands so. Have a plan of action prepared for an evacuation – your relatives in close by cities, shelters, and other places you can flee to. Remember, public shelters may refuse to take your pet in. Find animal shelters, boardings, and hospitals around you that you can rely on during calamities.
Find a Pet Buddy
Meet pet parents in your locality to establish a buddy system. The Buddy System is when you and another pet-parent decide to look out for each other’s pets in a scenario where one of you isn’t home and a calamity occurs. The buddy system can prove very helpful to working individuals who may not have the opportunity to reach home and rescue their pet during times of distress.
Make Emergency Arrangements
Make arrangements necessary to survive a disaster. Prepare an emergency kit for your pet and yourself. You must create an emergency directory that includes addresses and contact information of veterinarians in the area, animal hospitals, animal shelters, animal rescue organizations, and pet-friendly hotels around.
Always Stay Informed
Follow the news and keep yourself aware of disaster forecasts. You’re already half-way through to surviving a disaster with less damage if you are aware and prepared.
Pet Emergency Supplies Kit for Disaster Preparedness
You must put together an Emergency Supplies Kit for your pet. This kit must include all essentials and be accessible to you always. Below is the list of items you must have in an Emergency Supply Kit. Make sure you check the kit once every 3 months, replenish the perishable items and update the information from time to time.
Water & Food
Water and Food are essential to survival. Having some for your pet in their emergency supply kit will save you the trouble of finding pet food or water during the crisis. Check and refresh the items often.
Medicines & Drugs
If your pet is on any kind of medication, have a spare stock always in your kit. Keep a copy of the prescription too, for any emergency care needed. Note the expiry date of the drugs and change them with newer ones at least 2 months before they expire.
Have copies of your pet’s adoption documents, vaccination and medical records in the kit. This will not only help you keep all their documents in one place, but they can also prove very handy in the unforeseen circumstances disasters can bring.
A first-aid kit must consist of Absorbent Gauze Pads, Adhesive Tape, Cotton Balls or Swabs, Disposable Surgical Gloves, a pair of Scissors & Tweezers, Disposable Syringes, Antibiotic Ointment, Soap, Alcohol Wipes/Rubbing Alcohol, Crepe Bandage, Activated Charcoal, a Thermometer, and a Magnifying Glass.
Collar & Leash
Your pet must have a collar and ID tag on at all times. But it’s good to have a spare set in your emergency kit. Make sure this tag is more detailed than the usual dog tag and has information like your pet’s name, your name, number, locality, Rabies vaccination and sterilization information on it. Also, have a leash in the kit.
Crates and carriers can prove very helpful especially in cases of cats and smaller pets. Crates can provide your pet with a safe enclosed space and avoid anxiety. They can also ease transportation and reduce the risk of losing your pet in a crowd.
Newspapers, Paper Towels and Trash Bags can help you maintain hygiene & health for your pet. Disaster brings along diseases, and you neither want to be on the receiving nor the giving end of it. Dispose of your pet’s feces appropriately once they’ve relieved themselves. Clean them regularly!
Keep photographs of your pet, and you & your pet, both digital and hard copies. Write information like your pet’s species, breed, age, weight, names they respond to, any identification marks, color, etc. These can help you find your pet in case they get lost, or to prove ownership if found.
A calm pet will aid in your process of dealing with disaster. Keep anxiety reducing items like things they are familiar with, toys, a bedsheet, their food bowl, etc. in the supply kit.
Preparing your Pet for Disasters
Once you’ve done your share of preparations, it’s time to get your pet completely ready too. Your pet may panic during a disaster and there is no way to completely avoid it. But to make the process of you helping them easier you need to get your pet familiar and comfortable to the steps you’d take during a disaster.
Get your pet some crate and obedience training. If they have behavioral issues like separation anxiety, anti-social behavior, aggression towards strangers or even fussy eating, work with your trainer and vet to eliminate these habits. Perform mock drills with them. Get them familiar to sitting in your vehicle, take them on drives, feed them a consistent diet and visit your vet regularly to resolve any health issues at their root.
Remember a healthy pet will always be more balanced – physically, behaviorally and psychologically, to help you deal with disasters. Prioritize your pet’s health by only feeding them a species-appropriate, real, balanced diet. Watch out for spikes in weight, rapid weight loss or any other indicators of potential health issues. Provide them with enough exercise and training.
Being prepared helps avoid panic and anxiety for you and your pet during disasters. If you’ve thought about the different situations you could potentially be in, and how you and your pet can get out of them safely, you will be able to help yourself without relying on rescue operations completely. You may also be able to help others when you have the situation under control for yourself. Preparedness also helps streamline and make the process of rescuing people and animals easier, so more can be rescued quickly.
Keep these tips handy and start incorporating them into your routine. While we hope you never have to use them, we also hope you’re prepared when you need to.
FOR INFORMATION ONLY – NOT VETERINARY CARE
DawgieBowl operates this online information and opinion blog for educational and entertainment purposes only. The contents of this blog are researched from popular journals & books, online articles, and research papers. DawgieBowl does not claim ownership to the images or videos on the blog unless mentioned. Images or videos are collected from the public domain, and the rights to them lie with the photographer or copyright owner. By reading this blog or using any of the information you expressly acknowledge and understand that there are risks and limitations associated with any advice, recipes, formulas, and/or products suggested or endorsed. DawgieBowl, its parent entities, and stakeholders are not responsible for any loss, injury, claim, liability, or damage related to your use of this website, or any other site or product linked to this website, whether from errors or omissions in the content of our website or any other linked site, from downtime on the website or from any other use of this blog.
The content of this blog is NOT intended to substitute professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If your pet is sick, injured, or in need of medical attention, please contact your veterinarian or local emergency animal hospital immediately. Never disregard professional veterinary advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
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