For most of us, our pets are beloved family members who make the day a little brighter. And with the crazy and challenging times we’re living in currently we need them now more than ever.
No one wants to think about all the things that can go wrong at a moment’s notice but the best way to gain peace of mind is to anticipate and prepare for those situations that can make life challenging especially when it comes to our pets.
Here are some steps you can take now to prepare for emergencies and prevent accidents in the future.
While you might not have thought about preparing an emergency kit for your family, it is essential to have one for your pets. This kit should include:
- Sufficient food and water to last at least three days.
- Medications and medical records.
- Pet first aid supplies.
- A leash, collar, and identification tags with up-to-date contact information.
- Travel carriers or crates.
- Comfort items, such as toys and blankets.
- A recent photograph of your pet(s), in case they get lost.
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If you need to evacuate your home, you should have a clear plan for your pets. Identify pet-friendly shelters, hotels, or friends and family where you can stay with your pets. Keep a list of these options and their contact information in your emergency kit. Ensure your pets are comfortable with carriers or crates, so the evacuation process goes smoothly.
Microchipping your pets and ensuring they wear identification tags is essential. In an emergency, pets can become separated from their owners, and these identifiers can be a lifeline for reuniting you with your beloved companion.
Maintain a list of emergency contacts, including your veterinarian and a trusted friend or neighbor. In case you are unable to reach your pet during a crisis, these contacts can assist in looking after your pets.
Know Your Pet’s Hiding Spots
Cats in particular are known for finding hiding spots during stressful situations. Be aware of your pet’s hiding spots and ensure you can access them during an emergency.
Preventing accidents starts at home. Pet-proof your living space by securing hazardous items, like chemicals and small objects that pets could swallow. Use childproof latches to keep pets away from cabinets, and make sure electrical cords are out of their reach.
Install pet-friendly fire safety measures, such as pet alert stickers on windows indicating the number and type of pets inside. These stickers help firefighters identify and rescue your pets during a fire.
Many common houseplants and garden plants can be toxic to pets if ingested. Work to identify and remove or relocate any poisonous plants to a safe area.
Exercise, Training and Socialization
Boredom can lead to destructive behavior, which can lead to accidents. Ensure your pet gets the exercise it needs to stay happy and healthy. Additionally, proper training and socialization are crucial to preventing accidents and ensuring your pet’s safety because a well-behaved pet is less likely to get into dangerous situations.
Halloween and Other Scary Holidays
Most people know that chocolate is toxic for dogs but forget that other types of candy and treats can be dangerous as well. Please remember to keep pets away from any decorations, such as Jack-O-Lanterns, that can be harmful.
Keep all cats indoors on Halloween night and if you’re a pet owner who enjoys trick or treating with your pooch be mindful of its safety when you’re out with a crowd.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are also times for precaution. For some pets, there is nothing more fun than exploring holiday decorations (tinsel looks like fun but can get cause a blockage if ingested). Remember also to keep an eye on the furry kids when it comes to holiday foods as most are not cat or dog appropriate.
By creating an emergency kit, having a clear evacuation plan, and taking year-round preventive measures, you can help ensure the safety and well-being of your pets in any situation. Being prepared can make all the difference when it comes to protecting your beloved pets.
Written by Pam Tharp, High Country Humane Advisory Board member.