Having to evacuate your home is something we all fear when we hear about the natural disasters that occur throughout our country and the world. Planning for a possible evacuation can cause a great deal of anxiety; however, time spent now can save you a great deal of heartache, panic and mistakes should an evacuation be necessary.
In the case of an evacuation you should have ready:
- Pet Medications/Medications List: Keeping your pet(s) properly medicated for chronic illness/disease will be critical to your pet’s overall health during any extended absence from home. You can obtain a list of your pet’s medications from your veterinarian or through your pet portal if you have one set up through your veterinarian’s office.
- Pet ID Card: A good Pet ID Card contains handy, medical and identification information about each pet, such as the pet’s name, the pet’s photo, your name, address, phone number, vaccination history, microchip number, birth date and allergies. Each pet should have his/her own card. You can obtain a free Pet ID Card from our hospital.
- Pet Photo Album: In the event of an evacuation, a photographic record of your pet is ideal to take with you for purposes of identifying your pet. An inexpensive paperback album, containing photos of your pet over the past few years, would suffice. Try to include a variety of poses, showing any special identifying marks such as a dark patch over one eye, a curly tail, etc. A good way to update the travel album is to take and add a new photo on the day of your pet’s annual physical exam each year. This is also a good time to request an updated Pet ID Card.
- Pet Microchip Information: Keep a photocopy of your pet’s microchip identification documents in your emergency evacuation travel bag. You can also attach a pet microchip identification tag to your pet’s collar as backup identification. Having the documents with you is best in the event your pet’s collar comes off and/or gets lost during an evacuation. You might consider making multiple copies and have each family member carry a copy.
- Clean, sturdy food/water bowl: an inexpensive collapsible water bowl is lightweight, easy to clean, sturdy and efficient on space when packed in your emergency travel bag.
- Bottled Water: You need bottled water for your entire family, not just your pets, during an evacuation. Consider placing 16 ounce bottles in your pet’s emergency travel bag; as well as several gallon bottles in the same location for your other family members. A note about food preparedness: canned pet food has an expiration date, therefore adding canned pet food to your emergency bag now will not be practical should an evacuation occur in the future, beyond the food’s expiration date. You should have an evacuation plan for your entire family and should include canned nonperishable goods.
In order to transport your pet safely at any time, including during non-emergency car transport, you should have a sturdy carrier for a cat and a seat belted car harness for a dog. A dog can be transported safely in a sturdy dog crate as well. Large carriers and crates should be located safely in the most rear seat or hatchback area of the vehicle; smaller carriers and crates and harnessed pets should be secured in the back seat of the vehicle. Pets should not be transported in open truck beds.
Our goal is always to keep your pets healthy and safe. While we hope that you never have to use the information above for an emergency or an evacuation, we think this information can help give you peace of mind if you do. Remember that we are always here to answer your questions and provide support in any emergency.