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Planning Ahead Can Protect Your Pet in an Emergency

If you’re like most pet owners in Flagstaff, your pet is an important member of your family. With the fire and monsoon season upon us, it’s important to think ahead to how you would protect them in an emergency. The team at High Country Humane wants you and your pets to be safe at all times and offers the following information.

Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. Keep in mind that what’s best for you is typically what’s best for your animals.

If you must evacuate, take your pets with you if possible. However, if you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets.

Make a back-up emergency plan in case you can’t care for your animals yourself.

Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.

Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer.

Prepare a pet emergency supply kit. Include the following items and be sure to review your kits regularly to ensure that their contents, especially foods and medicines, are fresh.

Food. Keep at least three days of food in an airtight, waterproof container.

Water. Store at least three days of water specifically for your pets in addition to water you need for yourself and your family.

Medicines and medical records. Keep an extra supply of medicines your pet takes on a regular basis in a waterproof container.

First aid kit. Talk to your veterinarian about what is most appropriate for your pet’s emergency medical needs. Most kits should include cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors, antibiotic ointment, flea and tick prevention, latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Include a pet first aid reference book.

Collar with ID tag, harness or leash. Your pet should wear a collar with its rabies tag and identification at all times. Include a backup leash, collar and ID tag in your pet’s emergency supply kit. In addition, place copies of your pet’s registration information, adoption papers, vaccination documents and medical records in a clean plastic bag or waterproof container and also add them to your kit. You should also consider talking with your veterinarian about permanent identification such as microchipping, and enrolling your pet in a recovery database.

Crate or other pet carrier. If you need to evacuate in an emergency situation, your ability to take your pets with you will be aided by having a sturdy, safe, comfortable crate or carrier ready for transporting your pet. The carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down.

Sanitation. Include pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach to provide for your pet’s sanitation needs. You can use bleach as a disinfectant (dilute nine parts water to one part bleach), or, in an emergency, you can also use it to purify water. Use 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented or color safe bleaches, or those with added cleaners.

A picture of you and your pet together. If you become separated from your pet during an emergency, a picture of you and your pet together will help document ownership and allow others to assist you in identifying your pet. Include detailed information about species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics.

Familiar items. Put favorite toys, treats or bedding in your kit to help reduce stress for your pet. 

You can download a copy of our Pet Evacuation Checklist at HighCountryHumane.org. FBN

This information is based on instructions developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in consultation with: American Kennel Club, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), American Veterinary Medical Association and The Humane Society of the U.S.

Pamela Tharp is a member of the High
Country Humane Board of Directors.

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