Emergency preparedness for your pet

Many people know about 72-hour kits and have them for themselves and their family in case of an emergency evacuation. But what about your pet? Are you prepared to take care of your pet if you are forced to leave your home for several days? They need an emergency evacuation kit as well. Some things to consider:

– Food: This is most obvious, and easily arranged. Ziploc bags with enough food for several days can be prepared quite easily.
– Bathroom: This can be a little more difficult to manage, but there are a few options.
– Dogs: Keep a good supply of plastic bags (grocery bags or smaller-size garbage bags) handy to serve as “pooper scoopers”. Additionally or alternately, a stack of old newspapers can also come in handy.
– Cats: A low box with the top removed, or a plastic paint roller tray, filled with an inch or two of litter can work in a pinch. Keep the litter in a ziplock bag right along with the container and you’re ready to go.
– Medicine: If you pet takes any regular medicine or other treatments, keep a small supply set aside for emergencies.
– Comfort items: Retired toys or blankets that they are familiar with can help them feel more at home in unfamiliar surroundings and give them something to do.
– Shelter: Keep a pet carrier of the appropriate (or larger) size handy to grab if you need to evacuate. Most pets deal better with unfamiliar situations or places when confined in a familiar carrier. Other people where you evacuate will also appreciate you keeping your pet controlled.
– Spare leash: Keep a leash handy for taking your pet for walks when permitted.

Your pet is like one of your family, yet can far too often be overlooked when making emergency preparedness plans. Take some time to make sure their needs are accounted for as well, and everyone will be much happier.

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