If you’re like most people, you probably have an idea of how you would protect your loved ones in the event of an emergency. Maybe you have someone you can call to pick up your kids, a place your family could stay if your home was damaged, even a few gallons of water stashed in the basement. But do you have a plan in place for the care and protection of your pets if you can’t be there to help them when disaster strikes? 

It’s not a fun thing to think about, but catastrophes happen when we least expect it and there are many situations that could prevent you from returning home to your pet. Whether it’s a personal injury, accident, unexpected hospitalization, fire in the home, or a natural disaster, (which can take many forms in Michigan including snowstorms, wildfires, earthquakes and tornados). 

Fortunately, with a little planning and preparation, you can put together a plan to keep your pets safe and make sure they are cared for in an emergency situation. 

Make An Emergency Preparedness Plan 

Planning for a disaster or emergency ahead of time could mean the difference between life and death for a pet stranded in the home. The following steps are crucial to your pet emergency preparedness arsenal: 

  • To increase your chances of being reunited with your pet in the event you are separated, make sure he or she is wearing a collar with up-to-date ID tags at all times. If you haven’t had your pet microchipped yet, do so now. Don’t forget to register and update existing microchips if needed. 
  • Place a “Pet Inside” emergency alert sticker (free through the SPCA) or similar signage on a window or other visible area outside your home. This lets rescue workers know how many and what types of pets are in your home. (If you remove your pet from your home, add a note near the sticker.) 
  • Gather your pet’s medical records , carrier, leash, and first-aidkit in one convenient location near an exit in your home for easy access by you, your family, or a helpful friend. Give us a call at Union Lake Veterinary Hospital for recommendations on first aid kit supplies. 
  • Employ the buddy system with a few trusted friends and neighbors. Exchange keys, pet care information, and evacuation plans with each other. That way if you are unable to return home for any reason, your friends or neighbors can evacuate and care for your pets, and you can do the same for them. 
  • Have a current photo of you and your pet together to prove ownership. Include a photo of just your pet in case you need to make “lost pet” flyers. 

Having a plan of action is the best way to protect all members of your family from the effects of an emergency or disaster. Visit the American Red Cross  website for more information on creating an emergency preparedness plan.