By Dr. Caitlin O’Donoghue -
We hate to think of the worst case scenario. It’s why we procrastinate putting together a go-bag or making an emergency plan. But when it comes to your pets, they’re counting on you. From floods, to fires, to earthquakes, the key to keeping yourself and your fuzzy family safe is to plan ahead. We’ve got some recommendations on preparation for you and your pets.
Microchip Your Pets
Dogs are more than twice as likely to make it home if they are chipped, and in cats, it’s even more dramatic - microchipped cats were 20x as likely to be reunited with their owners. Make sure that your pet’s chip is registered with your correct address and contact info. Double-down by ensuring that your pet is also wearing their collar with tags and that the tags have at least 2 phone numbers on them. If your pets get away from you during a disaster, these steps could be the key to reuniting.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
Your pet’s emergency kit should include:
One-week supply of food & water. Store food in a water-tight container, and refresh your stash every few months. For canned food, don’t forget a manual can opener.
Medication - Fuzzy Members can request an emergency supply via Chat
Copies of vaccination records - Fuzzy Members can download and print theirs from the Fuzzy app
Photographs of your pets to help in identification, proof of ownership, or creation of “lost pet” materials
Pet first aid kit - see our article on how to make yours
Carrier or leash - 1 per animal
Pet Care instructions - in case you need to leave your pet with a friend or foster.
Service Animal paperwork - If your pet is a service animal, make sure to carry documentation. Many emergency shelters cannot take non-service animals.
Your Fuzzy app has a lot of this information, like medical records, pet photo and stats, and vaccine certificates, but it’s still important to keep a printed version in case your devices run out of battery.
Make a Plan
Coordinate with a neighbor to check in on your animals in case you can’t make it home. Keep a set of spare keys in a lockbox. Plan meeting points, evacuation routes, and identify potential pet-friendly lodging on your route. BringFido is a good resource for finding pet-friendly hotels. Lastly, have an indicator at your home like a window sticker to tell emergency responders that you have pets inside. If you are able to evacuate with your pets, write "evacuated" on the sticker so they don't spend time and resources looking for your pets. Try by any means NOT to leave pets behind. Remember - if it's not safe for you, it's not safe for them.