Even once the disaster is over, it’s important to keep an eye on your pet as they roam free again. Dangerous debris and other damage may confuse or harm your pet.
With more time at home, flexible work schedules, and feelings of loneliness on the rise, record numbers of people adopted pets during the pandemic. Having a pet is a rewarding experience, but comes with plenty of new and perhaps unfamiliar responsibilities. For instance, figuring out how to handle extreme weather and natural disasters.
Here are some tips to help you and your pet to tackle emergencies together.
Create a plan: Being prepared takes some of the panic away when you find yourself suddenly dealing with a natural disaster. Make sure that your home is stocked with the supplies needed to shelter in case you cannot leave your home. On the flip side, make sure you select a pet-friendly destination if the emergency requires you to evacuate. For backup locations, making a list of pet-friendly hotels or shelters will save you time and stress and designate a friend or family member who can take responsibility for your pet should you become incapacitated.
Prepare an emergency bag: Keep a pet kit stocked with everything you might need in an emergency so that you can act quickly in an emergency. Choose a bag that is easy to carry, keep it somewhere where anyone in your family can locate it, and make sure to label it clearly.
Experts recommend packing a pet first aid kit, enough food, and bottled water for a week, up-to-date medications, feeding and cleaning supplies, copies of medical records, an extra collar and leash, recent photos of your pet, and a comforting toy. Asking your veterinarian for emergency supply anti-anxiety medicine may also come in handy.
Microchip your pet: If you haven’t already, make sure to microchip your pet. Disasters and emergencies can be overwhelming for your pet and they may run away or otherwise get separated from you. Having a microchip will make it much easier for you and your pet to reunite. Microchips aren’t tracking devices, but they contain ID numbers so that if your pet is found without a collar, a vet or shelter can scan them for identification and obtain your contact information.
Once your pet is microchipped, make sure your animal is registered with a national pet recovery database.
Foster crate acceptance: Emergencies may mean that your pet will need to spend long amounts of time in a crate or kennel for their safety. By making sure your pet is accustomed to being in their carrier, you can make this experience far more comfortable for them.
Try to keep your pet in its kennel overnight when sleeping in a familiar place. You can also associate the kennel with your pet’s favorite treats or make it comfy with a bed or blanket provided that your pet doesn’t chew or soil.
Nurture a trusting relationship: Your pet will cope much better in stressful situations if you ensure they are well socialized. Reward your pet for coming when called or checking in with you so they know you are a safe and trusted person. If your pet suffers from separation anxiety, work with your vet and a behaviorist so that they can learn how to cope with separation distress.
Secure your home: If the emergency requires you to stay in your home, make sure your pet is not able to accidentally escape. Lock all pet doors and monitor your pet closely, as noises and other sensory aspects of a natural disaster can disorient and overwhelm your pet.
Be careful after the all-clear: Even once the disaster is over, it’s important to keep an eye on your pet as they roam free again. Dangerous debris and other damage may confuse or harm your pet.