Spring is here, which means soon the snow and ice in the mountains and lakes will begin to thaw and the inevitable flooding will occur. And no sooner do some areas have too much water will others be parched and dry and the danger of wildfires becomes a reality. Add to that areas in the US subject to tornadoes, hurricanes, and lightning strikes (and don’t forget the constant threat of a terrorist attack) and it just makes sense to take a few minutes now to begin basic preparations.
Have a Plan – and SHARE it.
In a perfect world we would all have proper warning and be able to safely evacuate our pets with us to wherever we’re going. But since disasters, whether man-made or created by nature, can happen just about anywhere at anytime without notice, what limited time you might have will be better spent executing your plan instead of panicking and wondering what to do.
Let’s face it, if I had one minute to get out of my house with my two dogs right now, I’d put on their collars and leashes, grab my phone, keys, and wallet and be out the door. Done. That would be as easy as it is every time we take them for a walk.
But what if I’m not there? What if I’m away from home and it catches fire from a lightning strike? I believe my neighbors or the first responders would certainly want to help, but would they even know we have dogs inside, where we keep their kennels, or where to find their collars and leashes?
[list_item icon=”fa-paw” color=”696868″]Make sure a close neighbor has a key to your house and knows where to find your pets and their supplies – most importantly their collar and leash.[/list_item]
[list_item icon=”fa-paw” color=”696868″]In case it’s not a neighbor you know that is trying to help, like a first responder, get a Rescue Alert decal for your door or front window. (We give them away free HERE).[/list_item][/tm_list]
Assuming we are home, and we do have a few minutes to properly evacuate, the next consideration is what we should take with us. In most cases we’ll likely drive across town and stay with family. Again, this is really no different than any other visit where we bring the dogs with us and doesn’t take too much effort. But this is about being prepared and not just fleeing and faking it. So…
What To Bring
Prepare and pack with the assumption that you won’t have time or access to modern conveniences and be ready to either self-sustain for at least 72 hours to a week, or need to drop them off at a secure shelter. (Let’s face it, if it is more than that then something has gone horribly, horribly wrong and we’ll all have much bigger problems to deal with.)
[list_item icon=” fa-check-square-o” color=”696868″]A week’s worth of food. We feed dry food and keep it in a container which we can pick up and carry out in an instant. The trick is to never let it get completely empty.[/list_item]
[list_item icon=” fa-check-square-o” color=”696868″]Water and food dishes. We have rubber/plastic ones we also use for camping and travel.[/list_item]
[list_item icon=” fa-check-square-o” color=”696868″]Their medication. If your pet is taking regular doses of anything keep enough of it in stock and have it always in one place, all together, for quick grab-and-go.[/list_item]
[list_item icon=” fa-check-square-o” color=”696868″]Their medical records (copies) and written instructions about their proper care – feeding instructions, medication requirements, etc. If you are forced to secure your pets at a local shelter, many of them won’t accept animals without up to date vaccinations and records which prove it. Store this information in a waterproof container which can be attached to their travel carrier.[/list_item]
[list_item icon=” fa-check-square-o” color=”696868″]Travel crates. We have portable crates. They’re sturdy and made of metal, and while they wouldn’t be accepted for air travel are perfectly adequate for this situation and nicely break down for easy transport when the pups aren’t inside.[/list_item]
[list_item icon=” fa-check-square-o” color=”696868″]Blankets/Bedding[/list_item]
[list_item icon=” fa-check-square-o” color=”696868″]Photo’s/Fliers for LOST PET notifications. Also include pictures of you WITH your pet.[/list_item][/tm_list]
Where to Go.
Most of us would assume to head to friends or family nearby, but what if that isn’t an option? What if they are also evacuated? And what if it is necessary to separate from our pets?
[list_item icon=”fa-paw” color=”696868″]Learn about which hotels and motels allow pets. There are a lot of applications which will tell you this information, but write it down now in case there is no power, or cell service is compromised, etc.[/list_item]
[list_item icon=”fa-paw” color=”696868″]Find out about local shelters which will take animals. Don’t assume all will allow pets. (For example, most Red Cross shelters do not take animals.)[/list_item]
[list_item icon=”fa-paw” color=”696868″]Ask your vet if they will board animals.[/list_item]
These are just the basics and, of course, you can certainly always do more and have more supplies if you prefer. We hope you’ll never need to execute these plans or use these supplies, but you’ll sure be happy and your pets will be much safer if you ever do need them and have taken a few minutes now to get organized and ready.