Anyone who owns a pet will tell you they are a part of the family. It doesn’t matter if your pet is a cat that sits on your feet whilst you’re watching TV, a dog that looks at you lovingly ready for his afternoon walk, a goldfish that distracts you from that important spreadsheet you need to be attending to, or even a horse that you’re longing to go riding on after work. We have an emotional attachment to every type of pet and therefore it’s important to consider what would happen to them in an emergency.
So, what are the top things we need to do:
General Good Practice
- Vaccinations – always make sure your pets’ vaccinations are up to date. These benefit to their overall wellbeing and good health but will also ensure there are no issues around vaccinations with animal boarding should it be required by kennels or cattery.
- Microchipping – it is now a legal requirement to make sure your dog is microchipped by the time it is 8 weeks old but in addition to this, it is also advantageous to get other pets microchipped, such as cats and rabbits. Animals can often become easily spooked or disorientated by new sounds, sights and smells, which is quite likely in an emergency, this can unfortunately occasionally lead to them running away or becoming lost. A microchip is a great way to help you become reunited should this happen. For more information on the rules around Dog Microchipping please visit: Get your dog microchipped - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
This might sound simple, yet it is always worth a reminder. To make sure you and your pets are best prepared for an emergency its vital we stay informed of the current situation. Some helpful hints can be seen below:
- Pay attention to public information about current emergency situations (be they storms, heat or anything else). The best place to see this is on regular local news bulletins or our local multi-agency partners social media accounts
- Download the Met Office weather app for close monitoring of the upcoming weather
- Listen to local emergency services when asked to evacuate or shelter at home
- Ensure pets are brought inside (if appropriate) when storms or extreme heat is forecast
Make a Plan for your Pet
Having a plan might sound a little over the top, but we aren’t suggesting a 20-page document for each individual pet, but just some thoughts and considerations around the following processes:
- Have a neighbour buddy – consider having a buddy who might be able to take care of your pet in an emergency. This could be family, friends, or a neighbour. Planning this in advance will save plenty of stress should an emergency take place.
- Evacuation Plan – as much as we try to accommodate pets in an emergency, not all shelters are suitable for pets and therefore it’s important to consider where you might take them in an emergency.
Emergency kits are something we are getting used to in our cars, but have we got one for our pets, some things we might want to consider are:
- Food – a couple of days’ supply of food (ideally tinned or long lasting)
- Water – a couple of bottles of water and a bowl to keep it in
- Medicine – have a small extra supply of any required medicine – that is in a waterproof cover
- Collar and harness – keep an extra collar or harness
- Pets’ registration and ID – keep a copy of any ID and registration documents
- Travel bag and/or crate – make sure you have a suitable carrier for all pets
- Sanitation Needs – litter bags etc
- Pet Treats – toys, treats and bedding
It’s not expected that you have all of this ready in a cupboard, but it’s important that we at least consider the things we might need.