In my early teens, my mom bought a cat that she absolutely adored. In fact, I had a sneaking suspicion she loved that cat more than me. Perhaps my first clue was her lack of sympathy for my allergy to the little fur ball. Naturally, a sibling rivalry ensued. The cat won.
At the time I really didn’t “get” loving a pet that much. Possibly, it was the all about me phase I was going through. But now, as the mother of 2 precious fur babies, I get it.
Oh lord, I’ve become my mother.
I’m not quite at the crazy cat lady level, but I love my dogs, I really do. And I’m not alone; Canadians’ love their pets. According to the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Canada, about half of Canadian households own some kind of pet, and Canadians dropped $6.5-billion on them in 2012, a figure that’s been rising steadily annually.
Like the rest of my fellow Canadians, I take special care to ensure my dogs receive the best creature comforts… soft beds, healthy food and snacks and the best toys money can buy. They go to the groomers, get regular check-ups at the vet and I worry about them when I leave them alone.
So you can imagine my chagrin when a friend asked what I had in my emergency kit for my pets. Say what? Turns out I’m failing a little as a pet owner.
I did a little research and I thought I’d share… just in case you too haven’t thought ahead.
Guidelines for Pet Emergency Preparation
Turns out the likelihood that you and your animals will survive a disaster such as a fire, flood, earthquake or terrorist attack depends largely on the emergency planning you do today. Some of the things you can do to prepare, such as assembling an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system, are the same for any emergency.
- Pack a Pet Survival Kit. Not to worry, we created a handy guideline for you in the HOME section of our Resource Centre.
- If you must evacuate your home, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND! Leaving your pets at home alone can place them in great danger—pets most likely cannot survive on their own. Either take them with you, or arrange alternate shelter for them. If you bring your pets with you when you evacuate, remember to take your pet survival kit too, in case supplies are not available later.
- Identify shelter in case of evacuation. For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets, so plan in advance for alternatives that will work for both you and your pets. Find out which motels and hotels in the area you plan to evacuate to allow pets. There are also a number of guides that list hotels and motels that permit pets and could serve as a starting point. You can also consider loved ones or friends outside your immediate area who would be willing to host you and your pets in an emergency.
- Make sure identification tags are up to date and securely fastened to your pet’s collar. If possible, attach the address and/or phone number of your evacuation site. If your pet gets lost, the tag is its ticket home.
- Make a backup emergency plan in case you can’t care for your animals yourself. Develop a buddy system with neighbours, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.