Ever since the evacuation of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, I can’t get the vision of abandoned pets on rooftops out of my mind. Here are some basic suggestions to create a pet evacuation kit to use, in the event of a natural disaster.
Include non-perishable items sufficient to last for 3-7 days, in either a plastic tub with a removable lid or a zippered pack or duffle bag, waterproof if possible, including:
– canned food and bottled water, or dry food in an airtight container (keep these up-to-date so that they don’t get stale)
– food dishes or disposable bowls
– toys and pet blanket or bed
– kitty litter, pan and scoop
– newspaper and paper towels
– garbage bags and disinfectant wipes that are “pet safe”
– collar and ID tag, harness and lead or leash
– washable kennel pad
– flashlight, either rechargeable or with batteries
– pet first aid kit
– medications and medical records (vaccinations), copy of dog license
– color photos of your pet (taped to carrier)
– cash in small bills and change in a watersafe container
– carrier liners
Carrier liners or inserts that are made for housetraining puppies can be used to absorb liquid such as water, urine or vomit (look for Piddle Pads and DryFur which are disposable, and/or Pooch Pads which can be laundered and reused. Pooch Pads are strong enough to be laundered and may be suitable to use with cats).
Each pet should have its own pet carrier with enough room for it to stand and turn around in and adequate ventilation, should it have to be confined for more than a few hours. For large pets, consider a carrier with wheels instead of a kennel or crate that might require two people to carry or move it.
With each pet’s container, leave a checklist of items to store within the container: your pet’s medications, how much your pet eats including what foods and amounts and when to feed them. This can be useful if you have to board your pet at a temporary shelter.
Replace perishable items like food cans frequently so that use by dates are not expired when you need to use the evacuation kit.
Ask a friend or family member to be your stand-in, in the event that you can’t get home and an evacuation is likely. Keep the evacuation kit in a handy location in case someone else will have to bring your pet to a shelter in your absence.