Emergency Plans Should Include Pets

By Jolyn Johnston-Myers
March 25, 2016

In addition to an emergency kit for your family in the event of severe weather or emergency evacuation, it's also important that pet owners have a plan in place and a kit prepared for their animals that meets their pets' needs for a minimum of three days.

As explained by Susan Nelson, veterinarian at Kansas State University, “That means enough of the medication they might need: food; water; if you have cats, litter boxes; portable carriers for your smaller pets, some pocket pets, and cats. Do you have leashes for your dogs? And the other thing is to have identification on your pets.”

During a storm, windows can get broken and doors can get blown open, so it's important that all pets have proper identification. Dr. Nelson suggests using a tag and collar, along with a microchip because tags and collars can get lost and microchips occasionally get missed on scanning.

Dr. Nelson also offered up a very practical tip to help reunite pets and owners in the unfortunate event that they do become separated.

“Always carry a picture of you with your pet.... If they should end up at a shelter... Let's say a storm does hit, they get taken to a shelter, you can identify your pet and say, 'Yes, I'm the rightful owner; here's a picture of me with my pet.'”

If you have to evacuate your home and can’t take your pets, Nelson says there are stickers that can be put on the front door or window to alert emergency personnel that pets are in the house, how many there are, what they are, and possibly their names so they can call for them.