cat In keeping with the “safer than sorry” theme, we want to get you thinking about what you can do for your pets in the event of a civil emergency or natural disaster. Following the devastating earthquakes in Christchurch, we know many people started taking their emergency planning more seriously and rightly so. But how many of you thought about your pets?

Natural disasters, like earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes and even severe flooding, can strike at anytime, anywhere and without warning. That’s why it’s critical to plan ahead to get through. Here are eight steps you can take to ensure your pets remain safe when an emergency forces you and your pets to evacuate your home with your cat or dog.

1.  Ensure your pet can be identified by either a microchip or collar ID tag, with updated contact information.

2.  Prepare an emergency box of supplies that is readily available. Emergency kits should include:

  • Current photo ID or your cat or dog
  • First aid supplies
  • 3-day supply of cat or dog food in a waterproof container (be sure to replace food supply to ensure it’s fresh)
  • Bottled water
  • 2 bowls for pet food and water
  • Safety harness and/or leash
  • Waste clean up supplies
  • Medications and medical records (vaccination records)
  • Contact list including us as your veterinarian
  • Contact information for you (name, phone, address)

shutterstock_88272742_SMALL3.  Keep your emergency kit in an area that is easy to access in an emergency, such as a closet by the front door.

4.  Display a pet rescue decal on your front door or window to let first responders know there is a cat or dog in the house. Include your veterinarian’s contact information, as well as your own.

5.  If you need to evacuate, consider taking a pet carrier or crate for transporting your pet and keeping them safe.

6.  Carry a recent picture of your cat or dog with you in case you are separated.

7.  Learn where your pet likes to hide in your house because pets may hide if they are scared. Finding them quickly will help you evacuate faster.

8.  Identify a location that is pet friendly if you need to leave your immediate area. Keep in mind that disaster shelters for people may not be able to shelter cats or dogs. It’s a good idea to research hotels/motels with pet friendly policies, or ask relatives or friends if you and/or your cat or dog can stay with them.

Hopefully you’ll never have to put these plans to use but if you consider your pet a part of your family, you’ll want to include them in your emergency planning.