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National Disaster Pet Preparedness

cat laying down looking at camera

North Vancouver is known for its breathtaking landscapes, but it is not immune to natural disasters, particularly wildfires. When disaster strikes, every moment counts for you and your pet’s safety. National Disaster Preparedness Month is observed each September to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for emergencies that can happen at any time. While you may have an emergency plan in place for your human family members, it's equally important to include your pet.

Knowing how to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters helps ensure your two- and four-legged family members stay safe when the unexpected happens. Use the following tips from Mountainside 24/7 Animal Emergency to include your pet in your disaster preparedness plan.

Ensure your pet has permanent identification

Pets can easily get lost in the chaos that accompanies natural disasters. Collars with ID tags are important, but they can be lost or removed. However, a microchip provides permanent identification. Microchip placement is a simple procedure that can be performed at your pet’s next wellness visit. After the microchip is implanted, you will need to register the microchip with your contact information so the company can facilitate a reunion, if necessary. Your pet should continue to wear their collar and identification tags, but microchipping is an added safety precaution.

Pack a pet emergency kit

In addition to a standard human emergency kit, pet owners should prepare a separate pet emergency kit. Your pet's emergency kit should include:

  • Food

  • Water

  • Bowls

  • Leash and collar

  • Collapsible crate or carrier, labeled with your contact information

  • Elimination supplies, including waste bags, litter, scoop, disposable boxes, and cleaning materials in case of accidents

  • Medications

  • Important medical records, such as vaccination paperwork

  • A pet first-aid kit

  • Current photo of you with your pet

  • A favorite blanket or toy

Purchase a pet rescue alert sticker for your home

Many pet supply stores sell stickers that alert rescue workers that pets are in the home. Fill out the sticker with the number of pets you have and your veterinarian’s phone number, and affix the sticker on or near your front door. If you evacuate your home, write “EVACUATED” across the sticker so rescue workers know they don’t have to search the house.

Make a pet emergency plan before you need it

Natural disasters, such as wildfires, can spread incredibly fast, and evacuation orders may come with little notice. If you're living in an area prone to wildfires or other natural disasters, it's essential to be prepared year-round, not only during fire season. The stress of an evacuation or emergency can make quick decisions difficult, so plan your evacuation route and lodging in advance. Places you may be able to stay with your pet include:

Pet-friendly lodging —  Ideally, you and your pet should stay together, so look into nearby pet-friendly hotels.

Friends and family — Make plans with friends or relatives who can take your pet in an emergency situation or host your entire family.

Boarding facilities —Locate pet boarding facilities in your area, but realize that they may be overcrowded or closed during an emergency.

Local humane societies — These organizations may have a disaster plan in place and a task force for sheltering pets during emergencies.

Practice evacuating with your pet

An emergency is no time for your pet to get used to a crate or learn how to behave during a car ride. Once your emergency plan is in place, practice with your family and pets often, and ensure your pet is comfortable in their carrier and during car rides. Get the entire family involved in practice evacuations, assigning a role to each person, so you will be ready in the event of an actual emergency.

Natural disasters are unpredictable, but preparing ahead of time can make all the difference for your family, including your pet. Make a plan, be prepared, and stay informed to ensure that you and your pets are ready should disaster strike. We hope that our tips help prevent an emergency, but if your pet needs immediate care, contact our Mountainside 24/7 Animal Emergency team.