Can you gather all your pets and put them in pet carriers at a moment’s notice? Do you have carriers for all your pets?
Are all your pets wearing collars and ID tags with your telephone number and an emergency telephone number?
If your pet escapes and becomes lost, could you provide a photograph?
If you are in an accident, become ill, or die is there someone who knows you have pets and is able to care for them in an emergency absence or as permanent caregiver?
Emergencies come in many forms, and they may require anything from a brief absence from your home to permanent evacuation. Blizzards, tornadoes, hazardous material spills, car accident or illness — emergency situations can strike anytime. Each type of emergency requires different measures to keep your pets safe. The best thing you can do for yourself and your pets is to be prepared.
Get a Rescue Alert Sticker
This easy-to-use sticker will let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible and that it includes 1) the types and number of pets in your household; 2) the name/number of your veterinarian. In case of an emergency evacuation and you evacuate with your pets, write “EVACUATED” across the stickers. These stickers are available from the Regina Humane Society for $1.
Emergency Supplies and Traveling Kits
Keep an emergency supply and evacuation kit handy for your pets. Make sure that everyone in the family knows where it is. This kit should be clearly labeled and easy to carry. Items to consider keeping in or near your pack include:
- Pet first-aid kit and guide book (ask your vet to provide the name of a good resource) • 3-7 days’ worth of canned (pop-top) or dry food (be sure to rotate every two months)
- Litter and disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
- Disinfectant, newspaper, paper towel, disposable garbage bags for clean-up
- Pet feeding dishes
- Extra harness and leash (Note: harnesses are recommended for safety and security)
- Photocopies of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires (Remember, food and medications need to be rotated out of your emergency kit—otherwise they may go bad or become useless.)
- Bottled water, at least 7 days’ worth for each pet (store in a cool, dry place and replace every two months)
- A crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet. Carriers should be large enough for the animal to stand comfortably, turn around and lie down.
- Blankets, towels
- Recent photos of your pets (in case your pet becomes lost)
- Toys/chews if you can easily take them, to reduce stress
- Especially for dogs: Long leash and yard stake.
Choose “Designated Caregivers”
This will take considerable time and thought. When choosing a temporary caregiver, consider someone who lives close to your residence. He or she should be someone who is generally home during the day while you are at work or has easy access to your home. A set of keys should be given to this trusted individual. This may work well with neighbors who have pets of their own—you may even swap responsibilities, depending upon who has accessibility. When selecting a permanent caregiver, you’ll need to consider other criteria. This is a person to whom you are entrusting the care of your pet in the event that something should happen to you.
When selecting this “foster parent,” consider people who have met your pet and have successfully cared for animals in the past. Be sure to discuss your expectations at length with a permanent caregiver, so he or she understands the responsibility of caring for your pet.
Additionally, you may want to provide a trust for your pet’s financial future. Unlike a will, a trust provides for your pet immediately, and will apply not only if you die, but if you become disabled. You may designate your permanent caregiver as the trustee, or choose a separate person to be the trustee of the funds that you have set aside for your pet’s care. Contact your attorney for more information on trusts and wills in the event you are no longer able to care for your pets.
If you must evacuate your home in a crisis, plan for the worst-case scenario. If you think you may be gone for only a day, assume that you may not be allowed to return for several weeks. When recommendations for evacuation have been announced, follow the instructions of officials. To minimize evacuation time, take these simple steps:
- Store an emergency kit and leashes as close to an exit as possible.
- Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification. Your pet’s ID tag should contain his name, telephone number and the number of an emergency contact outside your area should you become separated. Be sure to write your pet’s name, your name and contact information on your pet’s carrier as well.
- Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home during a crisis.
- Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND. Remember, if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. They may become trapped A Caring Place… or escape and be exposed to numerous life-threatening hazards.
- Ask your local animal shelter if they provide emergency shelter for pets.
- Identify hotels or motels outside of your immediate area that accept pets.
- Ask friends and relatives outside your immediate area if they would be willing to take in your pet.
Do You Know of a Pet Who Might Be Stranded?
If you know a friend or neighbour who has pets, and you think this person may be a victim of an accident or a disaster—or if you simply have not seen that person caring for their pets as they normally do—we urge you to take action to make sure that those pets are being cared for. Here’s how:
- Find out if someone is already taking care of the pets. Check with other neighbours and friends or a rental manager.
- If you think that pets are not being cared for, notify your local animal shelter. Do not attempt to break into the home.
Create a Community That’s Safe for Pets in Emergencies
If you live in an apartment building or townhouse community, help your landlord, property manager, or community association keep track of the resident pets. Collect this information and keep it in a place where police, rescue, and animal control responders have access to it:
- Information about the pet owners and an alternate pet caregiver: name, unit or address, telephone numbers (day, evening, and mobile).Information about the pets: name, type, breed, colouring, temperament, and favourite places.
- Information about the pets’ food, medications, vaccinations, and veterinary contact information.
- Location of pet emergency kit and other needed equipment (carriers, etc.).
- Signed permission for entry to the residence for the purpose of rescuing pets in an emergency.
- Location of an emergency key for entry to the residence.