June is Pet Preparedness Month. For pet owners, it is taking the additional step in ensuring that their non-human family members are protected in case of an emergency.
Here, in northeast Ohio, we are lucky to not have to deal with some emergencies, such as earthquakes or hurricanes, but emergencies, such as fires, tornados and floods can occur and are not uncommon. What should be done in order to protect pets in these events? By considering this, it not only protects pets, but also family members and first responders. Pets who are left behind in an emergency that requires evacuation could cause a pet to be injured, lost, or they could even lose their life. Never leave a pet chained outdoors.
Plan Ahead: If an evacuation is necessary, plan where pets can stay, as local shelters may prohibit pets. Check for shelters that may accept pets or make plans with friends or relatives that can keep pets temporarily. Identify boarding facilities, local animal shelters, or animal hospitals that can temporarily house or help pets who may be injured. Make plans with neighbors, friends or relatives to check on or evacuate pets if you are not home at the time of the emergency. Keep the details of your veterinarian or animal hospital in the area in your emergency contact list. Make sure that your pet is wearing a collar with up-to-date tags and contact information, and/or have your pet micro chipped, with updated information. Keep a leash and/or pet carrier near an exit.
An emergency pet kit, prepared ahead will also help in an emergency situation. The kit, one for each pet, should include:
-A pet carrier with the pet’s name, owner’s name, and contact information.
-Food and water for at least 2 weeks.
-Litter box and litter for cats.
-Plastic bags for poop.
– At least two weeks’ worth of medications.
-Medical records, including record of vaccination, prescription medications, and medical history.
-Leashes or harnesses
-Microchip number.
-Contact information (cell phone, work phone, home phone) of owner and close relatives or friends.
-Take a selfie with your pet(s) to help with reunification and as proof of ownership.
If sheltering in place, select a safe room, which should be an interior room with no, or few windows, if possible. Make sure there are no toxic plants or chemicals in the room. Close off a small area in the room for those pets who may be frightened.
Practice Evacuation: Make your pets’ carriers a comfortable place that they will want to stay and take them for a ride in a vehicle. Know your pet’s hiding places when they get scared and practice retrieving them, so it can be done quickly.

Contributing Writer