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How Your Family Can Create an Emergency Plan for Your Pets

2:58 pm

emergency pet careEmergencies and natural disasters are scary and stressful for everybody – especially our pets. With a little bit of planning, however, you can make sure that your pets will be safe and comfortable if something unexpected happens.

You can start by putting together a pet emergency kit. Here are some items recommended by the ASPCA and Ready.gov:

  • Three to seven days worth of pet food. Ready.gov suggests feeding your pets canned food during an emergency so they'll need to drink a little less water. Canned food is also easier to store.
  • Three to seven days worth of bottled water. Make sure you pack water that is specifically meant for your pet in addition to water meant for the human members of the family.
  • Food, water bowls and a manual can opener.
  • Any medications your pet takes regularly.
  • A first-aid kit. In addition to the usual first-aid items, such as gauze or antibiotic ointment, think about items specific to your pet, such as flea and tick prevention treatments.
  • A pet carrier.
  • Sanitation items such as litter and a litter box, newspaper, plastic bags, and cleaning supplies.
  • Important documents such as your pet's vaccination and veterinary records.
  • Leash and collar with ID tag.
  • Contact information for a 24/7 emergency vet center, like Animal Emergency & Referral Associates in Fairfield, NJ.
  • Any familiar items that would make your pet feel more comfortable, such as blankets and toys.

Once you have your kit assembled, make a plan. Where will you and your pet go in the event of an emergency? You might be forced to leave your home, so think of lodging options. Are there friends or family members outside of your immediate area who could take in both you and your pets? If not, research pet-friendly hotels and scout out boarding facilities just in case you have to temporarily separate from your pets.

You'll also want ways to quickly identify your pets in case they wander away from home during an emergency. Talk to your veterinarian about microchipping your pets and make sure they're always wearing a collar with an ID tag. Also, ensure that your contact information is written on your pet's carrier. Ready.gov even suggests carrying a photo that shows you and your pet together so you can prove ownership.

What if you're away from home and can't get to your pets when disaster strikes? Work out a "buddy system" with friends, family, or neighbors so that you'll have someone who can check on your pets. The ASPCA also offers free stickers you can place on your front door to let rescue workers know that pets are inside. You can order yours at ASPCA.org.

For more information on putting together a pet emergency plan, visit Ready.gov and ASPCA.org.

If your pet becomes injured in an after-hours emergency, you can contact Animal Emergency & Referral Associates, AERA’s 24/7 emergency vet hospital in Fairfield, NJ at 973-788-0500. Animal Emergency & Referral Associates is open 365 days a year, including holidays for emergency pet care.