National Pet Preparedness Month – are you ready for an emergency?

June is designated as National Pet Preparedness Month to remind pet owners to always include their furry friends in their emergency plans and preparedness preparation. In the event of an emergency or natural disaster, it is paramount that everyone in your house gets out safely, including your pets. From house fires and blackouts to hurricanes and floods, such events are frightening for us and can be more so for pets, who rely on their owners to keep them safe. Having emergency plans for your pets is crucial in making sure they get out and handle the situation safely.

Emergency plans can range from knowing where to gather following an emergency, placing leashes or pet food in easy-to-remember places, or constructing go kits that contain everything that your pet needs to weather emergencies, such as food, leashes, medication, clothes, etc. It can also consist of identifying nearby shelters that can assist you in taking care of your pet.

Here are some tips to make sure you are prepared:

Stay Informed

  • Have multiple ways to receive alerts and stay tuned to local TV and radio stations for the latest weather reports when a storm is in the forecast. In British Columbia, EmergencyInfoBC lists current emergencies and sends out alerts. 
  • Listen to local officials when told to evacuate or shelter in place. 
  • Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. 

Make a Plan

Just like for your family, make a plan specific to your pet and its needs. Consider the following in your plan: 

  • Have an evacuation plan for your pet. Many public shelters and hotels do not allow pets inside. Know a safe place where you can take your pets before disasters or emergencies happen. 
  • Plan with neighbors, friends or relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. 
  • Have your pet microchipped. Make sure to keep your address and phone number up-to-date and include contact information for an emergency contact outside of your immediate area. 
  • Keep a recent photo of you and your pet together and have copies of your pet’s registration information and vet records in a waterproof container and available electronically. 
  • When evacuating your home, it’s important to bring your pets. See below for some travel preparation tips to make your cat or dog comfortable if you have to put them in a pet carrier. 

The BCSPCA has some great tips for pet preparedness here. 

The City of Vancouver also has a good pet preparedness info here 

Build a Kit

Just as you do with your family’s emergency supply kit, think first about the basics for survival, such as food and water, and review your kits regularly to ensure that their contents are fresh. Kits should have enough supplies to last at least 72 hours. Consider the following items in an emergency kit for your pet: 

  • Food. Keep several days’ supply of food in an airtight, waterproof container. 
  • Water. Store a water bowl and several days’ supply of water. 
  • Medicine. Keep an extra supply of the medicine your pet takes on a regular basis in a waterproof container. 
  • First aid kit. Talk to your veterinarian about what is most appropriate for your pet’s emergency medical needs. 
  • Collar with ID tag and a harness or leash. Include a backup leash, collar and ID tag. Have copies of your pet’s registration information and other relevant documents in a waterproof container and available electronically. 
  • Traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet. 
  • Grooming items. Pet shampoo, conditioner and other items, in case your pet needs some cleaning up. 
  • Sanitation needs. Include pet litter and litter box (if appropriate), newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach to provide for your pet’s sanitation needs. 
  • A picture of you and your pet together. If you become separated from your pet during an emergency, a picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you in identifying your pet. 
  • Familiar items. Put favorite toys, treats or bedding in your kit. Familiar items can help reduce stress for your pet. 

Prepare Pets for Travel

When evacuating your home, it’s important to bring your pets. Because you may need to put your cat or dog into a pet carrier, it’s important that they’re comfortable with the experience. Follow these tips to reduce their stress: 

  • Leave the carrier out in places your pet frequently visits 
  • Leave the carrier open 
  • Feed them treats near the carrier – you can even try putting a few treats inside the carrier 
  • Add a favorite blanket or small bed inside the carrier so it smells familiar 
  • Make note of where your pets hide, so you can easily find them in case you have to leave your house quickly. 

Boundary Bay is open 24/7 for emergencies; we are VECCS Level 1 certified, and are capable of handling even the most critical, life-threatening emergencies and trauma, with specialists on staff and on-call to handle any medical or surgical issue.  

Please come directly to our hospital, no appointment required. If you have time, please call us to let us know you’re on the way at (604) 514-8383. 


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