A disaster plan … for your pets

No matter where we live, none of us are immune to disasters. We all need to have an emergency plan for when disaster strikes — and that plan should include our dogs and other pets.

Here is a checklist to help you prepare:

  • Put a rescue alert sticker in your window so emergency workers know there’s a pet inside during a fire or other disaster. If you evacuate with your pet, write “evacuated” over the sticker if you have time.
  • Pack a disaster kit for the whole family, including enough pet food and water for five days, a leash and waste disposal bags. Include a photo of your pet, too, in case you get separated.
  • If your pet spends time alone outdoors, bring him inside at the first sign of a storm or disaster. Left alone, a frightened or disoriented pet may run away during a crisis.
  • If you have to evacuate, take your pet with you. If it’s not safe for you, it’s not safe for him. Take a comfortable pet carrier, large enough for him to stand up, because he may have to stay in it for hours at a time. Plan ahead where you will board him if he’s not allowed in an emergency shelter. Your veterinarian and local animal shelters may have suggestions.
  • Make sure your dog has an identification tag, including your cell phone number. Ideally, he should also have a microchip, in case he slips his collar.
  •  If you’re waiting out an emergency at home, keep your pet and disaster kit with you in the safest room in your house. That may be a room away from windows during a tornado or a room upstairs or with high counters during a flood.

For more suggestions, check out these excellent resources from ASPCA , the Humane Society of the United States  and the Top Dog vitamin website.