(WETM) — September is one of the worst months for natural disasters, and it’s essential to be prepared in case disaster strikes. If there’s an emergency, don’t forget about some of the most important members of the family: pets.

Ready, the CDC and the Vets have created guides to help pet owners be prepared if they ever have to face a natural disaster with their furry friends. Some of the tips in the guides are specifically for natural disasters, but others could help if a pet goes missing for other reasons.

Pet owners should get their pets microchipped soon after adoption and make sure that the microchip information is registered to the correct owner. Shelters and veterinary offices can scan found pets for microchips to help reunite them with their owners. Putting a collar with an ID tag on cats and dogs would allow anyone who finds missing pets to reunite them with their owners without having to take them for a scan. Having recent photos of pets also makes it easier for pet owners to find their missing furry friends. Pet owners should also have photos with their pets to help prove ownership.

People who have pets will need to include extra supplies when they prepare emergency kits for their households. In addition to recent photos, copies of documents like pet registration information, microchip information, vet records, and vaccine records should be stored in a waterproof container. Food, water, and extra doses of pet medications should be stowed in waterproof containers as well. Recommendations for how much of each of these supplies should be stored for emergencies vary: the CDC recommends having a two-week supply of food, water, and medications; Nicole Savageau, a veterinarian from the Vets, recommends having enough of these supplies to last one week; and Ready recommends having enough of the supplies to last for a few days.

Additional supplies in a pet emergency kit should include food and water dishes, an extra leash, a sturdy pet carrier, toys, bedding, cat litter, a litter box, cleaning supplies for bathroom accidents, waste bags, and a first aid kit. According to Savageau, a pet first aid kit should include gauze, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, hydrogen peroxide, scissors, tweezers, a tick remover, ointment, cotton balls/swabs, saline solution and instant cold packs. All emergency and first aid kits should have enough supplies for each pet.

People who have reptiles, fish, and other exotic pets will need to pack more specialized care items in their emergency kits. Savageau recommends that fish owners prepare for emergencies with battery-operated pumps and water maintenance supplies. Reptile owners will need to have heat sources that don’t require electricity. Anything that a pet needs on a daily basis will need to be included in an emergency kit.

In the event of a natural disaster, be sure to follow local officials’ instructions when they say to shelter in place or evacuate and don’t forget to grab your pet’s emergency kit.


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