We at Jimmydog, including our dear Freddie girl, have been heartbroken and horrified by images of recent natural disasters. Freddie’s been particularly worried about animals who had to be abandoned or were separated from their people. She never wants anything like that to happen to your pack, so she took some time to learn about emergency preparedness for pets. It’s not fun to think about, but a little planning can save you from the unthinkable—losing your pets in a disaster. As usual, Freddie just wants to help!
Although Stephanie and Todd, the best people ever, try to protect me from bad news and general unpleasantness, as I wander through the house to my next napping spot, I can’t help but see images on TV of hurricanes, fires and earthquakes—and most upsetting to me, scenes of pets left behind or separated from their people because of the disasters.
I can’t imagine how scary it must be as a dog—or gerbil or ferret or parrot—to be without your people as waters rise and walls crumble down. They would never show it but I think even cats would be terrified.
We don’t get many earthquakes in North Carolina—apparently those grumblings I sometimes hear are not quakes but my empty tummy before breakfast. (Honestly, it’s hard to tell the difference!) But Stephanie tells me we can get struck by hurricanes and tornadoes. Where you live might be prone to blizzards and ice storms. And everyone is at risk of a fire in their house and a gas leak in their neighborhood. (Oh, this stuff is upsetting to think about!)
What I’m saying is everyone needs a plan in case something happens and you are forced leave your house in a hurry.
Stephanie tells me President John F. Kennedy said, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” She also tells me he loved animals and had a Welsh terrier named Charlie, so he must have been a very smart person.
Anyway, the idea is that you should prepare for bad stuff when no bad stuff is happening. So, here’s what I recommend: On the next sunny day, spend a little time making a plan and gathering emergency supplies. Chances are you’ll never have to use any of it—your life will be filled with sunny days. But if you need it, you’ll be able to keep your whole pack together and safe, just as you are meant to be.
Emergency planning for your best-friend pets:
(Thanks to Best Friends for many of these tips. It’s a wonderful animal sanctuary in Utah that has teams trained to go into disaster areas to help with pet rescue, so they know what they’re talking about.)
* Put your name, address and phone number on all your pets’ collars. Because cell service can go out or be spotty after a disaster, it’s a good idea to add a landline number or the cellphone number of a friend or relative in another part of the country.
* Get your pets microchipped. (I’m sorry in advance to all my furry friends who may have to make an extra trip to the vet for this. It’s for your own good, I promise.)
* Make sure you have carriers and leases/harnesses for all your pets. If you have a dog who may bite if she gets scared, get a soft muzzle for her. (Again, apologies to my furry friends: I hate muzzles but sometimes they are needed for everyone’s safety.)
* Create an evacuation plan. Figure out which directions you would head and where you might stay. Best Friends says it’s a good idea to check for pet-friendly hotels, animal hospitals and animal shelters at your planned destinations and along evacuation routes. If you have a lot of pets or unusual pets (a flock of chickens, horses, potbellied pigs, goats, snakes), see if there are animal refuges or large-animal boarders who could shelter your pets in an emergency.
* Create an emergency kit that includes:
* Pet food, snacks/treats and water (a week’s supply of all)
* Water and food bowls
* Can opener, plastic spoons and canned-food lid covers
* Medications (two-week supply)
* Pet first-aid kit
* Current photos of your pets
* Vaccination records
* Registry and contact information for the microchip company
* Cleaning supplies (paper towels, trash bags, poop bags, litter pans, litter, cleaning spray in case of accidents, disposable gloves, heavy-duty gloves)
* Blankets and towels (for bedding, for cleanup and to cover carriers if pets are scared)
* List of animal shelters, animal hospitals and pet-friendly hotels.
Best Friends says even if you have all these things in the house, you should gather them together in one tub or bag so they are ready when you need them: Sometimes you don’t get much warning. And don’t forget to update your emergency kit (restock with fresh food, update lists of pet-friendly hotels, etc.) twice a year.
Whew! That’s a lot. I’m glad taking care of stuff like this is Stephanie’s job, though I promise to accompany her on a car ride to the pet store for provisions because I’m helpful like that.
After you’ve made your plan and put together your emergency kit, you deserve a treat. May I suggest a cuddle with the cat or a walk with the dog?
Yours in dogness,