If you live in one of the many parts of Utah that suffers from occurrences such as floods, landslides, earthquakes, windstorms, or wildfires, then you are most likely aware of the concept of a disaster plan. It is critical to have one in place in case disaster strikes.
But while most of us carefully consider every possible outcome of these disasters and protect our family from them, too many people fail to consider the other vital members of their household: their pets.
Whether you have a big, loving dog, or a quiet and contented hamster, you should never forget to include pets in your disaster plans. Unlike us, they cannot survive independently, so it is up to us to put together a plan that considers all their needs.
Today we will look at what things you should consider when constructing a disaster plan for your pets: what you’ll need, what you should stock, and how to protect them during the trying times.
Your Pet Disaster Plan Basics
Much like your family disaster plan, your pets will need a survival kit that you can keep stored away for emergencies. This can be packed into a bag or box and kept alongside your family emergency kit. This way, you’ll be able to retrieve it easily during an evacuation.
This kit will need the following items:
● Food and Water
It may seem redundant, but your pet needs food and water just as you do. While it might be tempting to assume that you can share your family’s food stock with your pet, it’s not the best idea. Pack your emergency kit with at least three days’ worth of your pet’s food. Remember to keep dry food locked in a sealed container or stick to tinned, non-perishable food.
The amount of water you need will depend on your pet but remember that animals need more than humans. Typically, the average dog requires 4 liters of water per day, while a cat needs 1 liter per day. Stock more than this, as you may need extra to clean up after them.
● Medicines and Medical Records
Keep copies of all your pets’ medical records and a stock of any medicines they may need in your home safe, along with your other important documents. If your pet requires specific supplements or tick/flea preventatives, keep these handy and safe as well. Put together a first-aid kit specifically for your pets to be kept with the one for your family. You should also log all of the information about your vets, such as their name, number, and practice, and keep copies of your pet insurance information.
Your dog or cat should be microchipped, which will help if they should get loose, but you should also keep a spare collar with a tag, just in case. Keep all their details up to date alongside their insurance documents mentioned above. It’s also a good idea to have a recent photograph of yourself and your pet to help with identification.
While it will undoubtedly be comforting to have your pet with you during a disaster, you must keep them safe and secure. Train your cat or dog to stay in a large crate if needed to keep them out of harm’s way. Ensure the crate is big enough for them to comfortably stand, lie, and move in and has some comfort items such as a blanket and toy. For more exotic animals, such as lizards or snakes, a smaller, padded box or tank that can be easily transported will be ideal, providing them the environment they need while they are displaced.
Make sure you regularly update everything you keep, including your pet’s vet information and health history. Also, replace food and water every year to keep it as fresh as possible.
When you have your kit set, then you’ll be ready to put together your disaster response plan.
Your Disaster Action Plan
The specific steps you follow will depend on the type of disaster you might encounter. Some events will require you to stay indoors, while others will cause you to head to another safe location. Either way, you will need to know where you are going.
● Evacuating the Home
If you must evacuate to shelter, get your pet secured in their crate or transportable tank, then gather your important documents. Put everything into your vehicle. Know which nearby hotels accept pets or make plans with a friend in a distant location that you can drive to so you can wait out the disaster.
● Sheltering in the Home
If you are sheltering in your home, such as in a basement or safe room, get your pet and any children secured downstairs before you begin the process of locking down your home. Make sure they are safe and secure with blankets and toys and keep them close for the duration of the disaster. If you should find yourself unable to stay in your home, keep your pet close by using leashes or by carrying their crate. Do not let them out to wander.
● Plan for Temporary Replacement
If you own larger outdoor animals, such as livestock, horses, or larger dogs, you may need to rehome them temporarily during a disaster. Practice the relocation regularly to get them used to evacuation. Barns or stables may not hold up well against high winds or fires, so find shelters you can get them transported to for the duration.
● Comfort your Pet
Whether you evacuate or not, your pet will be scared. Keep them calm with soothing tones, and do not expose them to any rough weather or high winds if you can avoid it. If you have children, teach them how to help, as they can keep your pet calm while you are doing other necessary tasks.
Natural disasters are scary enough with our human level of understanding. For an animal who has no idea what’s going on around them in these situations, they are terrifying. Our role as pet owners is to ensure that our pets are as safe and comfortable as we can make them during these times. Start preparing ahead of time so that your pet can safely and comfortably ride out the disaster.
Besides preparing a disaster plan that includes your family and pets, you want to gather information on Utah disaster cleanup specialists if your home experiences significant damage. The top specialists will be available 24/7, ready to help you in disaster-related emergencies.
Whether you need flood restoration or fire cleanup in Davis County, our specialists will help you get back to normal as quickly as possible for the sake of you and your family–to include your treasured pets.