Emergency Preparedness For Your Pets

In light of the recent storms in the Northeast, we wanted to update this article on emergency preparedness for pets with some new information. Our thoughts are with everyone struggling to recover from Superstorm Sandy, and we’re grateful to all those who have sent money, supplies, and volunteers to the area. Don’t forget that you can donate to the American Humane Association (text HUMANE to 80888) and Red Cross Disaster Relief (text REDCROSS to 90999) via text message.

While we can’t always know or plan ahead for everything in life, it’s good to have some idea of what we will do in case of an emergency – and that goes for humans as well as the furry members of the household.

Whether or not you live in an area that’s prone to seasonal natural disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, or forest fires, things like house fires can occur no matter where you live. And the time to plan for an emergency like that is absolutely not when you’ve discovered the curtains are ablaze. Putting together a family emergency plan takes fore-thought, and that’s especially true if you’ve got pets to work into the equation.

Here are 7 tips to help you put together an emergency preparedness plan that takes your pets into account, too:

1: Make absolutely sure your pet has proper ID

Your pet should wear a collar that has an ID tag including your name, telephone number, and an additional emergency contact. Microchipping your pet is also strongly encouraged; tags can get torn off or collars removed – a microchip will help make sure you find your way back to your pet if you get separated.

2: Have an evacuation plan (and pet emergency kit) ready and handy

Having a pet emergency kit with some pet food, water, any medications your pet takes, litter/sanitation supplies, a blanket/pillow, a toy or two, an extra leash, collar, pet first aid supplies, a photograph of your pet, and an extra set of tags at the ready can save worry over where everything is when you’re in a panic. Pet carriers should also be in handy locations – not the deepest recess of the attic – and should be designed for easy transport. It’s also good to look up the locations of nearby pet-friendly hotels in case you need to evacuate quickly.

3: If you are forced to evacuate, don’t leave your pet behind

Plan ahead and find out if there are emergency animal shelters in your area if the nearest evacuation site does not allow pets.

4: Get a pet rescue alert sticker for the window of your home

If you have no choice but to leave your pet behind, be absolutely certain rescue workers know there’s a pet inside the house. The ASPCA has free Pet Safety Packs that include a sign you can put in your window indicating there’s a pet inside. Even if you’re not in a situation where you need to evacuate, these stickers can be extremely important if there’s an emergency situation at your house when you’re not there. For instance, if your home catches fire, firefighters would be able to know in an instant that there were animals indoors that needed to be rescued. And if you’re able to safely get your pets out during an emergency, it’s a good idea to try to write the word EVACUATED across the sticker so rescue workers know they can move on to the next house.

5: Special consideration for birds, reptiles, and small animals

Birds need a small and secure cage, reptiles and fish need a lightweight plastic tank instead of their big glass aquarium, and small animals like hamsters need a carrier where the cage doesn’t have openings so large they can escape. Depending on the weather in your area, prepare for the needs of your pet and climate controls that are necessary for their well-being. If your pet needs something like a heat lamp, a heating pad can serve in emergencies. Paper towels, an old towel, and a blanket are always good to have set aside specifically for your special pet.

6: Use technology to your advantage

While it’s good to keep a photo of your pet in his/her emergency kit, it’s also smart to store images of your pet on your phone. You can also scan and save your pet’s medical records on your phone, along with contact information for your vet or emergency vets in your area. There are iPhone and Android apps you can download to file pet records, or you can just use a note-taking app like Evernote. You can even email medical records and pet photos to yourself so you can access them remotely, whether you have your phone with you or not.

7: Climate and geographic considerations

If you live in an area where things like tornadoes, hurricanes, or earthquakes are regular occurrences, it’s important to have these plans in place well in advance so you’re not scrambling when disaster strikes. Not only will you need to be able to grab your pet and his/her emergency kit in case of an evacuation, you’ll also need to know the places in your house that are safe if (for instance) a tornado comes through and your best bet is to take cover indoors. You just need to know what parts of your house are safest for you, your family, and your pets. Even if you don’t live in a disaster-prone part of the world, however, no doubt there are occasional storms or fireworks displays that might frighten your pet – be sure to keep them indoors during things like that so they can’t run off in a panic.

photo by thchai

Plan, Know, and Go: Emergency Preparedness Event and Tips

Some of us live in places where seasonal weather pushes us to be on our toes at all times. When natural causes such as floods, earthquakes, or hurricanes force us to either be without access to certain creature comforts or force us to leave our homes for safety reasons, we need to make sure our whole family is safe and has enough essentials for a few days.

If you’re unsure what to do during an emergency and live in New York City, you can attend an event this Thursday in Union Square Park hosted by Ready New York, ASPCA, The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, and several other organizations from 2pm to 7pm that will help pet parents know what to do during an emergency. You’ll meet the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team, take a tour of the Animal Rescue Transport Trailer, and watch a CPR demonstration by the Red Cross, as well as other talks and demonstrations.

In the event of an emergency, here’s a few tips to help make things a little easier:

1: Keep ID on your pet at all times. Dogs should have a collar on that has your name, telephone number, and an emergency contact. Microchipping is strongly advised and increases your chances of retrieving your pet if they get lost during an evacuation.

2: Keep the pet carriers, leashes, harnesses in an accessible place and near an exit. For reptiles and fish, a smaller lightweight plastic tank for transporting is recommended.

3: If you have to leave your pet behind, make sure you have a static window cling or sticker that indicates the number of pets in the house and a contact number. Rescuers will know to spend extra time looking for your frightened cat if you have one these hanging up.

4: Keep copies of your pet’s medical records together and on hand as well as the phone numbers of your vet, local animal shelters, and humane society. If you’re able to, scan and email yourself the medical records to keep an electronic copy in case the paper copies get ruined. This way, your pet’s history is with you and chances are you’ll have access to a computer at some point after you’ve evacuated.

5: Have pictures of your pets and keep them in the emergency kit or in your wallet. You’ll need them if you become separated from them. Be ready to describe any distinguishing marks they have or characteristics.

Hopefully, you’ll never find yourself having to evacuate your home but if you do, having some of these tips under your belt will make the whole experience just a little less stressful.

Upcoming Pet Safety Workshops in the Portland, Oregon Area

There will be a series of pet emergency preparation workshops in the Portland, Oregon area. There will be many information sessions, and they will even hold events where you can get your pet microchipped.

dogDisaster Preparedness for Petowners

Beaverton City Library, Meeting Rooms A and B

Beaverton, Oregon

October 4

This is a free seminar at the library that launches a six-week focus on “Disaster Preparedness with Pets in Mind.” It will lay grounds for the following significant workshops. Questions will be explored about subjects like evacuations and finding shelters; what to have prepared if you become trapped in your home with your pet; what you should have in the car for your pet; making sure that your pet does not become neglected in case you are ever unconscious in a hospital. It will feature many local experts. No preregistration is necessary, and it will go on from 1:30-4:00 PM.

Lose-Proofing Fluffy

Western Pet Supply

Portland, Oregon

October 11

You can get your pet microchipped, ID tagged, and photographed, in case it ever gets lost. They will also present information on what to do in case your pet ever goes missing. It will cost $25/maximum, and you won’t be charged for any services you don’t use. It will go on 1:00-4:00 PM.

Survival Skills for Pets in Peril


Beaverton, Oregon

October 20

This is a “humans-only” workshop. It will focus on specific skills in case of crisis and building a connection with your pet in case that time comes. You will learn how to train your pet to be in a crate, and have your pet handled by strangers. Experts will do different presentations for cats and dogs, as the procedures are completely different for both. They will have used shelter crates for a reduced cost available. It costs $20, and you can pay when you are there. You can register at the PetsUtopia counter, or email [email protected], or call 503-244-2060. It will go on from 7:00-8:30 PM.

kittiesSurvival Skills for Pets in Peril

Tellington Touch: Calming Your Pet in Crisis


Beaverton, Oregon

November 3

This is a “humans-only” workshop. They will teach about T-Touch, a specialized way to physically handle your pet, that will help in crisis times. There will be a demo dog and demo cat. You can register at the PetsUtopia counter, or email [email protected], or call 503-244-2060. It will go on from 7:00-8:30 PM. It costs $20.

First Aid for Family Pets


Beaverton, Oregon

November 16

This “humans-only” workshop is a course in basic first aid for your pet. Keep in mind it is not a class that will lead towards veterinary certification, but is just meant for practical knowledge. A demo dog and demo cat will be shown. You can register at the PetsUtopia counter, or email [email protected], or call 503-244-2060. It will go on from 7:00-9:00 PM. It costs $25.