Your Pets and Emergencies
With it heading into Winter, its time to ask, "Are your pets prepared for an emergency?"
People put a lot of thought into preparing for an emergency but then think, "I'll just be able to put Rover into the car and go..."
You can but then you may not like the result. I know your pet won't. Just like small children, pets can sense the rising stress level of an emergency without understanding what is going on. This can lead to unpredictable behavior and the last thing you want to be dealing with in an emergency is a lost pet who bolted and ran.
One of the most important things you can own, if you have a pet is a collapsible dog crate. This goes for cats as well. Having them secure and easily handled can save their lives. And the crate shouldn't be folded up for storage either. It should be out and actively used. Most people cringe at the idea of locking their pets up, they are family BUT having a place they feel safe in and which they use on a regular basis is essential.
AND, crates should not be used only for punishment. If an animal associates the crate with BAD, then they are less likely to allow you to put them in it during an emergency. The crate should be someplace that includes it in the family setting. You should leave the door open, make the inside inviting and someplace the animal likes to lay in.
In addition, the crate or more specifically the area on top of it, can be a place to store important items you will need in an emergency for them. An extra set of leashes and collars. Bowls and a supply of food. A cold weather coat and extra blanket. Some toys and treats. Get a plastic tote and put everything inside of it, then place it on the top will save you time should you need to react in an emergency situation.
Don't forget records, especially vaccination records. Most hotels or emergency shelters will not let your pet inside without proof they are up to date on their shots. Make copies and put a second folder in the tote with their records, photos of them and importantly YOUR contact information. A photo of you with the pet can let a rescuer be sure that the animal is yours. In an emergency you may be separated from your pet. Having documentation that you can give to the person who takes your animal for safe keeping may be the one thing that gets them back to you.
Here is the link to "FEMA's Checklist for Pets for Disasters"