Does your pet have a disaster kit?

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As a native Long Islander, many of my family members were directly affected by Super Storm Sandy.  Thankfully no one was injured and the only damage was to property (which can be repaired).  For many families up and down the East Coast, the storm served as an all too real reminder that disasters can strike anywhere, any time and can come in many shapes and sizes.  As cleanup after the storm continues, one of the many lessons to be learned from Sandy is to always be prepared for an emergency.  You can protect your human and furry family by not only having a disaster evacuation plan, but an emergency disaster kit for your pets as well.

Britta with her disaster kit

Britta, an adoptable dog with Disaster Dogs, sitting next to her disaster kit.

A group in Joliet, Illinois by the name of Disaster Dogs, encourages disaster preparedness by including a 72 hour disaster kit as part of their adoption package.  While the group is not in a particularly disaster prone area, they include the kits with all of their adoptions as a means to spread the mission of having your entire family (pets included) prepared for disasters.  Disaster Dogs believes that their disaster kits are setting their adopters up for success.

Many rescue groups are helping set their adopters up for success and promoting responsible pet ownership by microchiping adoptable pets (Click here for more information on microchips and their benefits).  And much like microchipping, Disaster Dogs would love for other rescue groups to educate adopters about the importance of disaster preparedness (Check out our page on disaster preparedness for your pet, disaster shopping lists and more), especially if they are in disaster prone areas.

Tammy Pyzek, President of Disaster Dogs, says that their 72 hour disaster kit includes:

  • Bottled water (1 gallon of water per dog per day)
  • Enough cans of wet food (it keeps longer and is safer in cans than kibbles in a bag) for your pet for 72 hours and those cans must be pop top
  • Resealable pet food can lid
  • Blanket
  • Basic first-aid kit
  • Medical records with picture of your pet, veterinarian contact information and your emergency contact info in a zip-lock bag
  • Leash and collar
  • Treats
  • Poop bags
  • 2 collapsible bowls
  • Emergency alert window decal
  • Tin roasting pans to use as litter boxes (for cats)
  • Kitty litter and a scooper (for cats)
  • An air and water-tight container

Tammy said that, “ideally you would also want a carrier/crate depending on the size of the pet, a list of pet friendly hotels and shelters in your area, an extra tag, leash and collar, a more comprehensive first-aid kit and the poison control hotline number.”  Tammy also advises that every kit can and should be tailored to the needs of your specific pet.  And as an added level of preparedness, you could also sign-up for a pet first-aid and CPR class (Learn more about pet first-aid and CPR classes).  And to practice what I preach, I have signed myself up for a pet first-aid and CPR class at my local community college this coming February!

It can never hurt to be prepared for a disaster, because the more prepared you are the better.  For example, some pet friendly emergency relief shelters require proof of vaccinations in order for your pet to stay there, so having their medical records handy makes you more likely to gain access to that shelter.  And as I learned in my classes to become a New York State certified EMT: You plan for the worst and hope for the best. To learn more and prepare your pet for any possible disasters, check out our Pets in Disasters page.

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