After watching the rescue of pets from the hurricane Harvey flooding in Houston, I was thankful we don’t have such natural disasters here in West Michigan. Then I wondered what other types of disaster could befall me and my pets (a dog and cat), and how should I prepare for them?
You are correct that in West Michigan we do not face massive flooding and hurricanes, such as the residents of Texas and Florida have recently experienced, or runaway wildfires like California and other states are continuing to battle. But, if you think on a smaller scale, many of us have gone through similar misfortunes. House fires, broken sewer lines, damaging winds, and the occasional blizzard can all wreak havoc with our lives, and of course the lives of our pets.
All of these events can result in evacuations for the sake of health and safety. In most instances, if people are being evacuated pets should be evacuated too. Sometimes evacuation shelters allow people to bring their pets with them. You can make a list for yourself of other possible places for your pet to be lodged during a disaster. Ask your veterinarian if her clinic will house evacuated pets during an emergency. Contact hotels and keep a list of the ones that allow pets.
Ask friends, relatives, and co-workers if any of them would consider accommodating your pets in the event of a calamity.
Keep this list of possible locations with your other essential evacuation documents. These papers should include a copy of your veterinarian information, your pet’s vaccination records, adoption/purchase records, any medication information, pet’s name/age/description, and contact information for you and any other persons you would allow your pet to be released to. Also include photographs in this packet. Take photographs of your pet from the front and BOTH sides. Include photos of your pet with yourself and family members. These family photos can become especially important if a question on ownership should arise. Make three copies of these documents. One set should stay with you when you evacuate. One set should be given – ahead of time – to a family member or friend in a separate location that would not be affected by an emergency in your area. The third set should go with your pet… in his ‘go-bag’.
Have one go-bag per pet. Your pet’s go bag should contain a minimum of 3 days worth of food and water, as well as 2 weeks worth of medication. Have a crate or carrier for transport and containment of your pet. Make sure your pet’s collar has identification such as his name and your phone number as well as his microchip information. Be sure to keep your microchip information updated. Be sure to include your pet’s bed/blanket and a favorite toy. For your cat remember to pack a litter box and litter. Bring sanitation supplies for cleaning up after your pet. Gloves, paper towels, disinfectant, and bags for waste are essential. Remember to bring bowls for food and water. Packing treats and an extra leash are good ideas, too. Make sure your kit is weather proof and rodent proof. Check your kit periodically and replace the food/water/medications with fresh substitutions. Be sure to update information if anything changes.
And while you are setting up your pets’ go-kits, it would be a great idea to make one for each of the human members of your family as well!
Send your ‘Ask Annie About Animals’ questions to:
Wolf Song Enterprises, LLC
1657 S. Getty, Suite 28 Muskegon, MI 49442
or email your question to: WolfSongEnterprises@gmail.com
Annette Vida is a licensed veterinary technician with multi-species experience in day clinic, emergency clinic and mobile veterinary care facilities. She is also a certified dog trainer with 40 years experience. Annette has been involved with rescuing animals for decades and shares her home with her wonderful husband and many (rescued) animals. She owns and operates Wolf Song Enterprises, LLC, where she offers animal related consulting services and training. Her office is located at 1657 S. Getty, Ste 28, Muskegon, MI 49442. Call 231-740-3879 for an appointment—home consultations also available. www.WolfSongEnterprises.com