Disaster Safety For Pets: BE PREPARED!

Detailed Planning Can Help Save Your Dog Or Cat In Dangerous Situations

This week I have received more than the usual number of plaintive emails asking me to be on the lookout for lost pets in the RiverDell area.

As a known animal advocate, I try to make myself available to help in these frequently tragic situations. While property loss and damage is an undeniably terrible aftermath of our recent hurricane, so is the loss and injury of a great many domestic pets.

That said, there are a great many things we pet owners can do as part of our household disaster plan (Come now, surely you have one? Okay, since many of us (myself included) do not, now is as good a time as any to get started!) 


ALWAYS have a two-week supply of DRY pet food (and bottled water), as well as kitty litter on hand.

1. Maintain a supply of extra medications your pet takes regularly. If your pet suffers from a medical condition, get instructions from your vet regarding potential complications if dosages of medications or meals are missed.

2. Keep your pet's inoculations current.

3. Keep copies of your pet's medical records at easy reach.

4. Invest in a large size "self" feeder and water dispenser for your pets in the event that you are not there to provide these necessities.

5. Scope out nearby hotels and motels that will accept pets. Also check out as many pet-sitters and pet-hotels in the county as possible....in an emergency your regular caretaker may not be available and you need a backup.

Be Ready To Go:

Don't wait until the emergency occurs to have a "go-bag" ready for your pet. In it be sure to include:

*  Health And Inoculation Records
*  Non-perishable Food
*  Bottled Water
*  Blanket or Bedding
*  Extra Leash and Collar
*  Toys,Treats And Vitamins
*  Any medications currently being taken
First Aid Items: tape, cotton balls, hydrogen peroxide, scissors and calming natural products from the health food store such as: Bach Rescue Remedy (for calming) and Arnica (to treat bruises)
Keep an appropriate carrier near your go-bag in case your pet needs to be transported and contained (as in: you must go to a local shelter but in order to bring your pet they must arrive in a carrier).


1. Make sure your pet is micro-chipped.
2. Even if your dog or cat is micro-chipped, be sure they wear a stable (non-choker, non-prong) collar with ID tags as well. In a blackout micro-chips may become unreadable.
3. Put emergency stickers saying that there is a pet inside, on both the windows of your car and doors of your home.

During AND After A Storm:

1. NEVER (EVER!) leave your cat or dog outside during a storm or unusual weather event. Animals panic and will seek escape. Dogs that normally cannot jump a high fence will suddenly be propelled to leap over the top due to a surge of adrenaline.

2. Check your fences and locks carefully before letting an animal outside after a windstorm or any event that involves extreme weather. Bolts and locks can rust and weaken, fences can easily lose support and provide unwanted escape.

3.  Keep pets away from any debris that may be toxic or dangerous. After an emergency you don't need your dog or cat to ingest any foreign materials that may require urgent veterinary care (which may be temporarily unavailable).

4. Carefully monitor use of candles and indoor generators which may cause hazards if tipped over by a curious pet.

The extra time it takes to do the due diligence to ensure your own pet's safety is well worth it. A disaster or weather emergency is difficult enough without adding the complication of a lost or injured pet.

Our pet's lives rely upon our good sense and willingness to care for them (and prepare for them) properly.


Mary September 06, 2011 at 03:44 PM
In a blackout micro-chips may become unreadable. Absolutely UNTRUE Microchips are read with a battery operated scanner. The chip is totally inert.
Andrea Kahn September 06, 2011 at 04:24 PM
Hi Mary. Thanks for commenting. You're right and I should have explained more clearly; I actually meant that the ofen chaotic "circumstances" of a blackout may make it impossible for a pet's microchip to be read by someone who can return a pet, and it is worth it to double up with a good sturdy collar and tag. When it comes to my pets, I'd do anything to keep them safe!


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