June is Pet Preparedness Month. Celebrate your pet by considering your pet’s unique needs and incorporating them into your emergency supplies kit and family emergency plan. Depending on the weather and time of year, your pet’s needs will change. Consider how you will have to adjust your pet’s emergency plan depending on these factors.
Items to include in your emergency supplies kit:
- Food and water for at least three days for each pet, bowls and a manual can opener if you are packing canned pet food. If you would like to take an extra level of precaution, consider packing five days worth of food and water for your pet. People need at least one gallon of water per person per day. While your pet may not need that much, keep an extra gallon on hand to use if your pet has been exposed to chemicals or flood waters and needs to be rinsed.
- Cat litter box, litter, litter scoop and garbage bags to collect all your pets' waste.
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses and carriers to transport pets safely and to ensure that your pets can't escape. Make sure that your cat or dog is wearing a collar and identification that is up to date and visible at all times. Carriers should be large enough to allow your pet to stand comfortably, turn around and lie down. (Your pet may have to stay in the carrier for hours at a time.) Be sure to have a secure cage with no loose objects inside it to accommodate smaller pets—who may also need blankets or towels for bedding and warmth as well as special items, depending on their species.
- Current photos of you with your pets and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them in case you and your pets become separated—and to prove that they are yours once you're reunited.
- Written information about your pets' feeding schedules, medical conditions and behavior issues along with the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in foster care.
- Include toys for your pet to play with. Packing your pet’s favorite toys can keep them entertained and comfortable during an emergency.
Following the Arizona Humane Society’s Disaster Preparedness Checklist for pets can help you organize your pet’s needs and make sure you have everything covered before an emergency strikes.
Protecting your pet during an emergency:
- If your pets are outside, bring them inside immediately. Severe weather changes can affect your pet’s behavior and stress levels. Bringing them inside early can stop them from running away. Never leave a pet outside or tied up during a storm.
- Create a back-up emergency plan in case you cannot care for your pets. Coordinate an emergency plan with your neighbors or friend in case someone needs to evacuate your pets. Having your emergency supplies kit near can help facilitate this process, should you need to have your neighbor or friend assist your with your pet.
Evacuating with your pet:
Evacuating with your pet during an emergency can be stressful; however, preparing a plan and anticipating your pet’s needs can save you time and energy during an evacuation.
- Identify shelters. For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets. Find out which motels and hotels in the area you plan to evacuate to allow pets well in advance of needing them. Include your local animal shelter's number in your list of emergency numbers.
- Take your carrier or kennel for your pet. Whether you plan to stay in a public shelter, with a friend or family member, or in a hotel, having your pet’s carrier or kennel available can provide comfort to your pet. Evacuation shelters might have limited kennels available. Brining your own ensures your pet has a familiar space to rest.
Livestock and large animals:
- Make available vehicles and trailers needed for transporting and supporting large animals if you need to evacuate them. Consider have experienced handlers and drivers as back-up contacts that can help you evacuate your animals.
- Ensure animals have some form of identification.
- For more tips on how to care for large animals, visit: https://www.ready.gov/animals.
Extreme heat and winter weather tips:
In extreme heat:
- Never leave your pet in your vehicle. Keep your pet indoors and put out plenty of water for them to stay hydrated during hot summer days. If your pet must stay outdoors, provide ventilated shelter, baby pools filled with water, and sunscreen on pets with short hair. Baby sunscreen can be used on pets.
- Do not chain your pet up, as this will make it difficult for your pet to access water or shade.
- Your pet can experience heat exhaustion. Do not exercise your pet strenuously on extreme heat days. Avoid long walks and hikes.
- Bring pets inside. If you have livestock or large animals, move them to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
- Do not let your pet sleep on a heating pad or electric blanket –- indoors or outdoors. Your pet could be easily burned, and when left unattended, heating pads or electric blankets can overheat and spark a fire.
- Do not assume your pet is warm because he has fur. The cold weather has different effects on animals, depending on their size, age and breed. As a general rule, if it is too cold for you, it is too cold for your pet. Puppies and kittens, small breeds and geriatric pets have a harder time keeping warm, as do pets with an illness or injury.
Interested in learning more about ways to keep your pet emergency prepared? Check out these additional resources for more information:
Fur-friendly emergency preparedness tips on social media: