Include Pets in Your Household Emergency Plan

Every family needs an emergency plan – and that includes the steps required to take care of the furry and feathered members of your family.

Every family needs an emergency plan – and that includes the steps required to take care of the furry and feathered members of your family.

It always makes sense to keep your pet vaccinated.  You never know when they may have to be boarded or leave the home.

In case of an evacuation, pets may not be allowed in public shelters or hotels, so it’s a good idea to prepare an alternative if they can’t go with you.  Options include taking them to the home of a relative or friend or, in advance, identifying pet-friendly hotels or boarding facilities near you.  The following tips from Public Safety Canada will help you keep pets safe:

Identify your pet.  If you become separated from your little one during an emergency, their identification may be the only way to find them.  Make sure each animal wears a collar and identification tag at all times.

Put together a pet emergency kit.  Here are some things to include:

  • A sturdy crate or carrier;
  • A strong  leash or harness;
  • ID tag and collar;
  • Food and water for at least 72 hours (4L/day per average dog, 1L/day per average cat);
  • Bowls and can opener for food;
  • Newspaper, paper towels, plastic bags, litter  and/or litter box;
  • Special medications, dosage and veterinarian’s contact information;
  • Pet file complete with photos, your contact information, and vaccine records;
  • A pet first-aid kit; and
  • Blanket and toys

Plan for evacuations.  The best way to protect your pet in an emergency is to bring him/her with you.  Most evacuation shelters will only accept service animals.  Make a list of where your pet can be taken in case you need to evacuate.

Keep your pet inside during severe weather.  Animals are sensitive to sudden changes in temperature and often isolate themselves when scared.  Never leave a pet outside or tethered during a storm.

If ordered to evacuate, take your pet with you.  If you must leave your pets in the house, do not tether or cage them.  Leave a sign in the window and a note on the door indication what animals are inside.  Provide water and food, and leave toilet seats up.  Keep newspaper inside for hygiene purposes and feed your pet wet food in order to reduce the amount of water it may need.

We read about floods in Calgary and Toronto, wind and ice storms in Montreal and earthquakes in Ottawa.  Even in our own area we have severe wind and snow storms along with power outages. Being prepared helps us minimize risks.

There is always more information on emergency preparedness at

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