September is National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month

Creating a plan for you and your pets

By Shannon Butler

Did you know that 54% of households in Minnesota and 70% of families in the US (90.5 million families) have at least one pet? According to recent data from the ASPCA, of the 90.5 million families with a pet – 83% describe themselves as living in an area where natural disasters occur. Over 1 in 5 (18,100,000) evacuated their homes due to emergency or disaster. Of those over 18 million evacuees, half (9 million) reported having to leave at least one pet behind. Of those 9 million evacuees, almost 40% (3.6 million) didn’t return home for at least four days. These are startling figures. No one wants to think about disaster striking, or the idea of having to leave a pet behind.

One more striking statistic…90% of pet owners indicate they would not leave a pet behind, but only 46% of pet owners report having an emergency preparedness plan which includes their pet.

If you are thinking now, during National Disaster Preparedness Month, is the time to create a preparedness plan, or review your existing plan here are some tip to help you and you pet should disaster strike:

1. Create a plan. Include a trusted pet-buddy who can get your pet to safety in the event you are unable to.
2. Know where your local pet-friendly evacuation shelters are, and what requirements they may have
3. Microchip your pet, or at least make sure they have id tags and updated contact information.
4. Create a comfort-kit for your pet

Comfort kits are to provide for basic needs and help reduce the stress some pets experience when change occurs. Set a reminder to rotate or replace perishable items.

What to include in your pet’s comfort-kit:
1. Food & water, enough to last 3 days is recommended. (don’t forget a dish to put it in). Keep food in a airtight container and mind expiration dates.
2. Any medication your pet needs to take on a regular basis, & your veterinary clinic information. Place in an airtight container.
3. Pet transportation items – Crate/carrier/pet tote bag, leash, or harness
4. Sanitation items like litter & litter box, pet pads. Include a small pack of pet wipes should a clean-up be necessary.
5. Comfort items – preferred toys, small pet blanket, treats or grooming supplies to help your pet feel more comfortable.
6. In the event you and your pet get separated, a picture of you with the pet may facilitate reunion. Place in airtight container with the medication and veterinary information