Just as you do with your family’s disaster survival kit, think first about the basics, for your pet – food, water and comfort.

Think about two Disaster Survival Kits –

  1. One kit for if you need to stay at home for up to three days (Home Kit).
  2. The other, a more portable lightweight version (Getaway Kit) for when you, your family and your small animal need to leave

Place these kits somewhere easy to get to in a hurry and make sure everyone in the house knows where they are kept, including a neighbour.

Always re-check these kits for expiry dates, to ensure supplies stay fresh. Water should always be replaced every six months to ensure freshness.

SAFE PLACES

Pets are usually not permitted in public shelters or evacuation centres, so you need to plan and agree on a ‘Safe House’ or an animal shelter that you and your pet (or just your pet) could go to.

Safe House

Plan and agree with a family member or friend (who doesn’t live with you and who has ideally cared for your pet in the past) if they will care for your pet for any length of time in case of a disaster. Place their full name, address and telephone number in your emergency survival kit in a waterproof container. All adults and children in your household should know these primary and alternative contacts (names / addresses / contact numbers) or always carry this information with them.

Show them and a neighbour where your disaster survival kits are just in case you are not at home when disaster strikes and you are cut off from returning to your pet. This means they can at least feed and attend to your pet in the interim. Have a plan to communicate with your pet’s carer after the event. You will want to arrange a meeting place in a safe area so you can be reunited with your pets.

Safe Shelter

Make a list of contact information and addresses of other potential places you may be able to leave your pet (motels that allow pets or local vet centres). Keep a list on you at all times and a copy in each of your disaster survival kits.

Always call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to evacuate from home.

GIVE IT A GO

To ensure your family and pet can move fast and feel comfortable if you need to shelter in place in a disaster, you should practice getting your family unit into your safe place in the house (where your emergency survival kits are kept). You can time yourselves and give it another go from time to time to see how fast (but not panicked) you can operate.

Then try again to your chosen ‘Safe House/Shelter’. By practicing an evacuation your pet will get use to entering and travelling calmly in their cage/carrier.

Try doing practice runs, also in the dark. This will ensure you can navigate quicker if a disaster strikes during the night or if there is a power cut.

Emergency Survival Items

FoodStore at least three days of non-perishable pet food in an airtight, waterproof container
WaterStore at least three days of water, in addition to the water you need for your family. Plus you will need extra water to clean up after your pet. If they are used to using a drinking bottle, keep a spare in the kit.
MedicationStore an extra supply of medication your pet needs in a waterproof container as well as special dietary or behavioural condition needs.
Vet RecordsStore copies of any medical records in a watertight container including your vet’s name and telephone number (in case you have to board your pet or place them in foster care).
First Aid KitTalk to your vet about any specific requirements that may be required beyond that in your household first aid kit.
Blanket / BeddingFamiliar items, like a favourite blanket or even a pillowcase they can bury into, can help reduce stress for your pet.
SanitationInclude any pet litter and litter box device. Other useful items are newspapers, paper towels, plastic bags and household bleach.

Identification

PhotographStore a current photograph of your pet in a waterproof container, including notes on: distinguishing features, name, sex, age, colour and breed. Also include a photograph of you and your pet together as this helps prove they are yours if you become separated.
Back upAs a back-up, save microchip details, medical and veterinary details, key contact details and all photographs electronically – to places such as ‘Dropbox’, your mobile phone or save a folder in your Webmail. This means you can still access these vital details if you are cut off from returning to your pet.

Equipment

Cages or CarrierThis is to transport your pet safely and ensure they cannot escape. Remember anything cardboard/paper based (i.e. pet carrier box) will disintegrate.

A cage/carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand comfortably, turn around, and lie down. Your pet may have to stay in the cage/carrier for hours at a time so include bedding and any favourite toy to reduce stress levels.

Make sure your pet’s cage/carrier includes a tag that clearly states their name, your name, phone number and if there is room your address. Include a back-up tag in your pet’s disaster survival kit.

Small animals often feel safer if they are able to hide, so place a small cardboard box inside their cage.

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