Think about the New Madrid seismic zone, the 2010 Nashville flood and the Tennessee forest fires last summer. Disasters can and do happen in Tennessee. Have your pets ready for whatever comes with a pet disaster plan.
Preparing a Portable Pet Disaster Kit
Leaving a pet behind in the event of a disaster should only be done as an absolute last resort. Animals left behind to fend for themselves after a disaster can easily be hurt, lost or even killed. Storm damaged areas can allow an animal to escape. Disasters create hazardous conditions such as down electrical lines, contaminated water, and broken glass that highly increase the chance of your pet getting hurt. Chaining an animal to a fence or furniture can prevent them from seeking food or shelter or even escaping in the event your home is destroyed. When we accept an animal into our home, we accept responsibility for their safety. With adequate preparation ahead of time, you can safely evacuate your animal with you or find a safe place to board them.
Many shelters will not accept animals, so take some time now to find a place for you and your animal to stay. Contact hotels in your immediate area to check their policies on accepting pets. If you are unable to locate a hotel, check with veterinarians and local shelters to see if they are able to board your pet during a disaster.
Having a pet disaster kit prepared ahead of time will ensure you have the items you need when evacuating.
Your Pet’s Kit:
- Five days of pet food and treats
- Drinkable water in plastic bottles
- Non-electric can opener for canned foods
- Medications stored in a waterproof container
- Leashes, harnesses, and carriers. Carriers should be large enough for your pet to stand up, turn around, and lie down. Be sure your pet is familiar with the carrier, prior to the disaster, to lessen their stress
- Current photos of your pet in the event the get lost
- Veterinarian’s contact information, feeding schedule, medication information, in case you need to board your pet
- Each pet should have their own pet tag, listing all up-to-date contact information for you. You may also want to consider micro-chipping your pet.
- Cat litter box, litter, and scoop
- Garbage or plastic bags to collect pet waste
- Bedding/sheets for warmth
- Grooming supplies (combs/brushes)
- A carrying case for all of your pet’s items
Take the time today to prepare your pet’s kit. A little preparation today can significantly increase the safety of your pet in the event of a disaster.