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Disaster Preparedness

We often hear about natural disasters on the news: tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, fires, and snowstorms. Maybe you have personally experienced or know someone who has experienced such an event before. Natural disasters cause severe damage and can happen anywhere throughout the world, leaving an impact on animals and their human companions.

September is Natural Disaster Preparedness Month, which reminds us that we, as responsible pet owners, should all prepare for emergencies that could affect our pets’ well-being ahead of time. Creating emergency plans and stocking supplies before disaster strikes will help you and your pet should such an emergency come to our area (Cambridge, Ontario). In some natural disasters, we could experience a loss of services such as electric power, gas, and water. Having alternate sources of necessities like water, food, battery-powered generators and fuel for heat will help you and your pet weather the storm more comfortably together.

Some things you should include in your pet emergency supply kit are:

  • A crate or carrier for each of your pets. It should be large enough to hold their food and water dishes and have enough room for them to stand, turn around and lie down in. Make sure to label the crate with your contact information, pet’s information, and vet’s contact information. A luggage tag could be used for this purpose.
  • Leash, collar or harness.
  • Dishes that hook onto the door of the cage/crate will help prevent spills if you are on the move.
  • Pack one to two weeks’ worth of food per animal. Water-resistant, airtight containers will help food stay fresh. Wet, canned food is also good because the expiry date is usually good for a couple of years. It will also provide some moisture for your pet and make them less thirsty if water is scarce. Pack items that come from homes like blankets and toys to help provide comfort.
  • Feliway or Adaptil can be used to help reduce anxiety.
  • Plastic bags for waste disposal, pee pads, newspapers, paper towels, Lysol wipes and bleach cleaner for cleanup and sanitizing.
  • Make sure to have any pet prescriptions packed if you have to leave your home. Having copies of all your pet’s veterinarian documents, medical history, proof of ownership and microchip information. Take along recent pictures of yourself with your pet’s contact information for your vet.
  • First aid kits containing bandage material, antibacterial soap, tape, tweezers, quick-stop, and antibacterial ointment are available for purchase at Animal Hospital of Cambridge.

Make sure all your pets are wearing up-to-date identification tags. If your pet is not microchipped, you may want to make an appointment to have this done. Place stickers on doors and windows to notify rescue crews (fire and police) that animals are in the house and need to be evacuated. Giving a neighbour or a family member a key to your house so they can look after your pets in the event you are travelling and away from home would be a good idea.

If you are being evacuated from your home, take your animals with you. If a situation is unsafe for you, then it is unsafe for your pets. It never hurts to be ready for an emergency, and your pets will thank you for it.