A Guide to Natural Disaster Preparedness for Pets

Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes, are an inevitable part of life, yet they seem to be more common throughout the age of climate change. Most of us have been subject to at least one form of a natural disaster, and will often remember how frightening and chaotic it is when you’re in the midst of it. 

If you are a pet owner, a natural disaster can add even more complexity to how to respond. The goal of your friends at Wellesley-Natick Veterinary Hospital is to help you prepare for such an occurrence. Through this simple guide to natural preparedness for pets, we hope you will feel better equipped to protect your furry one.

Preparing a Natural Disaster Kit for Your Pet

The first order of business is to have a kit that you can quickly grab and take with you, should a disaster happen. These basic things will be useful when you are getting your pet to safety and setting up in a shelter or other refuge.

These essential items include:

  • Food for 5-7 days
  • A few gallons of water (which can be included in your own supply)
  • Medications
  • Pet First Aid Kit
  • Leash and collar
  • Up to date ID tags 
  • Carrier or crate
  • Litter box and litter or pet waste bags

You may wish to include nonessentials that can help calm your pet, such as grooming items, pet bed, favorite toy, Bach Flower Essences, or other items. This is dependent upon how much you are able to take, and where you will be staying.

Guarding Your Pet’s Health

It’s never good to realize that you are out of your pet’s prescriptions, or your pet’s vaccinations have lapsed, in the middle of an emergency evacuation. Standing water and debris increase your pet’s exposure to illness and parasites during a natural disaster. Pets who are currently ill will have more difficulty in an emergency. 

Here are some considerations regarding your pet’s health in a disaster scenario:

  1. Are your pet’s vaccines current? If not, now is the time for action!
  2. How healthy is your pet, and would they require assistance with medical condition during a disaster?
  3. Is your pet microchipped and is the information on the chip current?
  4. Is your pet up to date on parasite preventives, including heartworm?

Keeping your pet in good health will go a long way during a crisis.

Your Pet Evacuation Plan

To minimize the panic and confusion during a disaster requires having a good plan intact for your family. For your pet, this is equally true. 

Here are some tips to guide you through this:

  • Keep a list of everything you need for your pet.
  • Get Rescue Alert stickers for your doors and windows, should you be forced to leave your pet behind. Never leave your pet unless you absolutely must
  • Find lodging for your pet – many evacuation shelters do not allow animals, so look to friends, family, or foster arrangements now, rather than wait
  • Put your disaster kit in an easy-to-access location

We Can Help with Natural Disaster Preparedness for Pets

Even if a major disaster never occurs (and we hope it does not!), these steps can help with small emergencies, such as a trip to the veterinary ER. Being prepared can alleviate stress in any situation that calls for quick thinking and action. If we can help answer any questions about emergency preparedness for pets, please call us.