With wildfires a constant threat living in California, attention is usually focused on home evacuation and personal welfare. But what about our furry friends? If you’re an animal owner, it’s just as crucial to have a plan in place for pets.
The most important factor is to plan ahead and know where you will take your pets if disaster strikes. Arrange these plans in advance and even have a plan in place with neighbors in case you are not home or able to get home in time to help them. Some shelters will not allow animals inside, so it is crucial to have alternate prearranged locations planned for your animals to relocate to.
Ensure your pets have clear identification tags with your personal information and any pertinent facts, like health issues or medications, that need to be known by anyone else taking care of them.
Each of your animals should also have their own carrier. Since it will most likely be a stressful event, covering cages or carriers with a light sheet can minimize fear and allow your pets to feel a bit safer and not as exposed.
Similar to creating a disaster preparedness kit for the humans in your household, it’s imperative to create one for each pet as well. Inside, include copies of medical records, veterinarian contact info, a current photo of your pet and personal contact information.
Additionally, you should store two week’s supply of food, extra water/food bowls, a pet first-aid kit, cat litter if applicable, medications with instructions, paper towels, waste disposal bags, toys, treats and collars/harnesses. Contain all these items in a go-bag easily accessible next to a pet carrier.
In a worst-case scenario, if you have to leave your pets, bring them indoors and place them in a room with adequate ventilation and ideally, no window. Such spots could be a garage, utility room or bathroom where they can roam but still be in a contained space. Leave as much water as possible and dry food out for them to access.
Furry friends are just as much a part of the family as anyone and it’s important to plan for their safety in a disaster. Prep now and know that if the worst happens, you’re prepared and putting their health and safety on par with your own.