There are many reasons to have a travel kit prepared for your animal companions: from evacuation during an emergency, to vet trips, to a day at the beach. But, often we don’t think of all the items we need to include in that kit. In the United States alone, 61% of animal guardians travel with their pets and 33% travel often with their animals. Hotels are recognizing this and offering some really innovative packages for anyone on vacation or having to evacuate with their animal family members.
Did you know that September is National Disaster Preparedness Month? As September comes to an end and we welcome October, I wanted to share some easy tips that you can do to prepare in the event that an emergency strikes your home. This is the perfect time for animal guardians to take some simple – but critical – steps to keep their feathered, scaly and furry companions safe.
More than 396 million pets reside in 68 percent of American households. A poll, conducted after Hurricane Katrina, found that 61 percent of animal guardians will not evacuate if they cannot bring their animal family members with them. So, if you are one of those people then you need to read this. It’s vital that you create a pet emergency kit that is available to quickly grab and go.
A basic pet disaster kit includes:
- Food and water for at least five days for each pet, bowls, and a manual can opener if you are packing canned pet food. 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 if your pet has been exposed to chemicals or flood waters and needs to be rinsed.
- Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container and a first aid kit. A pet first aid book is also a good idea.
- Cat litter box, litter, litter scoop, and garbage bags to collect all pets’ waste.
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and carriers to transport pets safely and to ensure that your pets can’t escape. 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.
Other useful items include:
- Paper towels
- Plastic trash bags
- Grooming items
- Household bleach
The HSUS recommends creating a list of hotels and boarding facilities that allow pets and discussing bringing pets with you to stay with family members. Here are a few pet-friendly hotel profiles.
Even if you are evacuating, it doesn’t have to be stressful. We used to jokingly refer to them as “Hurrications”. This helpful infographic from PetSafe is an excellent reminder of the basic necessities, looks at some of the most pet-friendly places in the nation, and gives you some great guidelines on traveling with your feathered, scaly, or furry family members!
When disaster strikes, the same rules that apply to people apply to our animal companions – preparation makes all the difference. Remember, if it’s not safe for you, then it’s not safe for your animals. Be a conscious companion and be prepared!
For more detailed information on how to prepare for disasters, please visit here.