Dear Hopeful: What exactly should I do to prepare my pets for an emergency? Thanks. — Katie
Dear Katie: Those who were evacuated during the Angora fire in 2007 know how important it is to have the entire family — including pets — ready to “go now!” That means having food, water and comfort items pre-packed. It means being prepared to keep your pets safe in an open field or in temporary housing. Here’s how to outfit your pets for seven unexpected days away from home.
Obtain individual crates or carries large enough for safe confinement. Pet should be able to stand, turn around and lie down. Smaller dog crates can hold a cat along with a small litter pan (a small aluminum baking pan works great in these situations).
Pre-pack and store the crate and a separate container with: your pet’s favorite type of toy and bedding, extra collar or harness with leashes for both dogs and cats, bowls, food (dry or self opening cans), bottled water, cleaning supplies, cat litter with scoop, plastic dog waste bags and first aid pet kit.
Pack a watertight bag with: instant ID tag for temporary phone number in case of evacuation, current close up pet photo and photo of pet with family member for proof to claim a rescued pet, copy of up to date vaccination records (boarding facilities and pet friendly shelters require proof of current rabies, distemper, parvo and bordatella vaccinations), your pets medications and medical records, phone list including local and out-of-area veterinarians and boarding kennels, pet friendly housing alternatives, neighbors, and your county animal services.
Four times a year, rotate medications and food in airtight, waterproof containers. Freshen bottled water just for pets. A rule of thumb for dogs is one gallon per day for a 40-pound dog and one quart per day for each cat.
Other emergency planning includes: microchip your pet for permanent ID (talk to your veterinarian). Let your pets become familiar with their crate. It can be an extra bed or safe haven. Establish and practice a family plan including how the pets will be gathered and who will take the pre-packed pet supplies. Establish a neighbor plan including friends and family. Agree to look out for each other’s pets if someone is absent when a disaster strikes. At the first disaster alert, get pets inside. Remember that your distress communicates directly to your pets. Leash them immediately, put pets in their carriers and supplies into the car. Never leave your pets behind. If you must do so, do not tie them up. Leave lots of water in bathtubs and containers. Immediately call County Animal Services to request pet rescue when it is safe. Phone lines will be busy or may be out of order. Current ID tags and pet photos are critical in getting your pet back to you.
Remember, your pets depend on you to be safe in an emergency. A free emergency kit with window decal and instant pet ID tag and an inexpensive pet first aid kit are available at the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A located at 870 Emerald Bay Road.
Thank you Katie for bringing up this very important topic.
Submit your questions or letters via email to email@example.com or by mail to P.O. Box PET, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158. Visit the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and SPCA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LakeTahoeHumaneSocietySPCA. You can also become a Facebook friend of Hopeful Henry at www.facebook.com/Hopeful.Henry.