By all accounts, 2020 has been a challenging year. Aside from the COVID-19 pandemic, we have also seen unprecedented fires blazing on the west coast. On the east coast, there have been so many powerful storms that for only the second time, the US National Hurricane Center has run out of names. We still have several more weeks to worry about hurricanes and tropical storms and then potential snow! No matter what, disasters can strike at any time and with little to no warning, so it is important to prepare for disasters as a responsible pet parent.
It is important to be sure your pet always has an identification tag that ideally has more than one phone number to contact. We also strongly recommend microchip identification. This helps reunite a pet that may become separated from a pet parent in an emergency. It is important to have a way to lead a pet to safety—leashes for dogs, carriers for cats, small dogs, and other exotic pets. These, too, should be labeled with name and owner contact information.
You should also prepare an emergency evacuation kit that can be preassembled and stored where you can quickly access should the need arise. Important items include: a copy of your veterinary records with vaccine status, a supply of food (1-2 weeks and a can opener if you feed canned food), water-can be stored in plastic jugs, an emergency contact list (including your veterinarian), familiar toys or blankets to comfort your pet, litter box and litter for cats, waste bags to pick up dog feces, muzzles, no-spill food and water bowl, paper towels, trash bags, a week’s supply of daily medications (be sure to replenish based on expiration), and any specific care instructions (food allergies, medication requirements, etc.). It is also wise to have a pet first aid kit (gauze pads, bandage wraps, antibacterial cleanser, isopropyl alcohol, disposable gloves, antibiotic ointment).
Remember, pets are not people so consult your veterinary team with specific medications that can be part of your evacuation or first aid kit. They are great resources in your planning. Another great resource is found on the American Veterinary Medical Association website.