With National Preparedness Week coming up we would like to take a little time in helping you prepare for an emergency that might require evacuation of your pets from your home. Occasionally, the river in Medicine Hat floods and in 2013 some of our residents had to evacuate their houses. Taking your pets with you is always the best option. You won’t know how long you will have to stay out of your residence while the natural disaster subsides and clean up takes place.
Here are some things to include in your emergency preparedness kit for your pets.
- Put together a list ahead of time of hotels or motels that will allow you to stay there with your pets, within and outside the city limits. You can also contact the local Medicine Hat SPCA, boarding kennels or your veterinarian to ask if they offer short term care while you make arrangements for your pet. Make sure you include the emergency number for your vet clinic. Ours is the same as our normal number, 403 527-1825. During the flood of 2013 we temporarily housed more than 30 pets for evacuated residents.
- A great place to keep your emergency preparedness things together is an appropriate sized travel carrier. This is a carrier that is in addition to your normal carrier so that all of the things you need are in one spot. In an emergency situation you don’t need to waste time arguing with a spouse as to where they left the cat carrier. You can simply grab the emergency carrier and know that you have what you need.
- If your pet is too big for a carrier, keep your kit in a sturdy bin. You will want to include a leash and collar to ensure your pet cannot escape.
- It’s a good idea to keep 72 hours of food and water in your kit. (The size of your pet will determine how much food to keep in there.) It is a good idea to buy a small bag of the food that you normally feed and keep it in the original bag. Some pet food manufacturers create their bags to help keep their food lasting fresh as long as possible. Set a reminder in your phone 6 months ahead of the expiration date. That way you can use up the bag in your kit and replace it with another before your food expires. If you feed canned food, also put a manual can opener in your kit.
- Food and water bowls.
- An empty sealed plastic bag labeled with the medications your pet takes to remind yourself to grab them.
- Medical records, important phone numbers and a current picture of your pet in a sealed plastic baggie. Include feeding habits, behaviours and medication schedules in case you have to leave them at a shelter, boarding facility or vet clinic.
- Cat litter pan and litter (in a plastic bag). You can set your carrier inside of the cat litter pan to remind yourself to take it. Empty the contents of your carrier into the pan when you load your kitty in the carrier.
- A comfort item. A little bit of home whether it be a toy or a blanket that smells like home.
- Pheromone spray. This one may be a little over the top BUT science has proven that pheromones can lower stress levels in cats and dogs when using Feli-Way and Adaptil pheromone sprays. You can spray the kennel, the inside of the car or the hotel room with the pheromone to help them feel more settled. Here is a link for Adaptil and Feli-Way These sprays are available through your veterinarian.
It is important to be prepared for emergencies. It is much easier to be prepared instead of scrambling to gather all the things you need for yourself and your loved ones.