When disaster strikes, your furry pal will turn to you for help and safety. After all, they can’t pack their own emergency kit or plan a pet-friendly evacuation route. When creating your family’s disaster preparedness plan, follow these six tips to include your pet.

#1: Pack a first aid kit for your pet

While your typical first aid kit likely has many of the supplies you need to care for your pet if they become injured or ill during a disaster, a few pet-specific items also should be included. Check your first aid kit to ensure it includes the following necessities:

  • Absorbent gauze pads
  • Gauze rolls
  • Adhesive medical tape
  • Vet wrap, a self-adhesive bandage wrap
  • Non-stick pads for wound bandaging
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Benadryl and your pet’s dosage
  • Activated charcoal
  • Fresh 3% hydrogen peroxide 
  • Antiseptic wash or wipes
  • Ice and hot packs
  • Disposable gloves
  • Blunt-ended scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Antibiotic ointment (e.g., plain Neosporin)
  • Oral syringe or turkey baster
  • Liquid dish soap (e.g., Dawn)
  • Towels
  • Tourniquet
  • Small flashlight
  • Styptic powder for torn nails
  • Saline eye solution
  • Artificial tears ointment
  • A muzzle
  • Thermometer

Ensure you replace depleted items after each use so you have plenty on hand for the next emergency. 

#2: Double up on your pet’s identification

Check your pet’s collar ID tags for wear and tear, and ensure they’re still legible and up to date. Place basic information on the tag, like your cell phone number and the number of a nearby friend or family member. Double up on your pet’s identification by having them microchipped, if they haven’t been already. A microchip is a permanent identification form that cannot fall off, become illegible, or stop working. However, the key to using a microchip effectively is to ensure your registration information is current with the microchip registration company. If an evacuation is inevitable, your pet will have multiple chances of finding a safe shelter if they become lost. 

#3: Place a rescue sticker on your home to alert emergency workers

Place a rescue sticker in a highly visible spot on your home to flag down rescue workers if they need to search homes after a disaster. By having this sticker clearly visible, you will alert rescue workers to search your home and to determine how many pets you have inside. This sticker can contain additional details, such as the types of pets you own and Mill Creek Animal Hospital’s phone number.

#4: Put together emergency supplies for your pet

In addition to packing your own emergency supplies, create a stash for your pet. Each pet should have:

  • A one-week supply of food and water
  • A two-week supply of medications
  • A can opener if necessary
  • Food and water dishes
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Litter and disposable litter trays
  • Bedding
  • Leash, collar, harness, or carrier
  • Toys and treats
  • First aid kit

Place all of your pet’s supplies in an easy-to-carry, waterproof container that you can grab and go. Keep in mind that food and prescriptions will expire, so rotate old supplies out regularly to ensure freshness. 

#5: Determine pet-friendly evacuation routes

Ask friends or relatives outside your immediate area if they could take  care of your pet if a disaster strikes. If that is not an option, plan a pet-friendly evacuation route. Not all hotels accept pets, or they may have breed and size restrictions, so contact your chosen lodgings now to determine their pet policy. Otherwise, use a website like BringFido to help you plan an evacuation route that includes pet-friendly shelter, emergency veterinary hospitals, and pet supply stores. 

#6: Anticipate a worst case scenario when planning your pet’s care

 Arrange ahead of time with your neighbors and friends to have them look out for your pet in the event a disaster strikes while you’re away from your home and unable to get back. Share your evacuation plan and swap house keys to ensure your friend can get inside your home and get your pet to safety. Instructions on where to find your pet and their supplies should also be included in this information. 

Prepare for any disaster by keeping your pet in tip-top health. A healthy pet is better prepared to handle the stress and any potential infectious diseases they might be exposed to during disasters. Plus, a fully vaccinated pet can be boarded at any boarding facility during an evacuation. Ensure your pet is up to date on essential vaccinations by contacting our Mill Creek Animal Hospital team for an appointment.