85 million families in the U.S. have a pet. Many of those families consider those pets to be part of the family, too. So, when disaster strikes, you have to think about more than your spouse and kids. It’s important to be just as prepared to keep your pets safe in an emergency.
Unlike your human family members, pets can’t do much to prep for disaster ahead of time. So, it’s up to you to make sure you have everything in place for them. That includes having the right supplies on hand and making sure you include them in whatever plans you create to stay safe.
It’s not uncommon for pets to get abandoned during natural disasters – not on purpose, but because owners aren’t fully prepared. If you’re an avid prepper, including your pets in your plan will keep your entire family together when disaster strikes.
Not sure where to get started when it comes to prepping with pets? Let’s go over a few helpful tips and ideas that will make it easier so your whole family can stay together during a disaster.
Having the Right Supplies
You already know the importance of having the right gear and supplies for your family. So, make sure you do the same for your pet. Packing a small bug-out bag or first-aid kit specifically for your four-legged friend is a great place to start. From there, you can build a bigger natural disaster preparedness kit, including items like:
- Food and water to last a week
- Any medicine your pet might need
- A blanket
- Their leash/harness
- Cat litter (if needed)
- Their favorite toy
You should also make sure your pet can be easily identified. Their collar or leash should have their name and your basic contact information. If you do end up getting separated, someone else might find them and have an easier time returning them home.
Keep in mind that your pet might be scared or uncertain if there’s an emergency. They won’t be able to comprehend it the same way you do. So, don’t be afraid to throw a few extra “comfort” items into their kit. Whether it’s more toys, treats, or even something that smells like you, it can make a big difference.
Prepping Your Home for Your Pets
As a prepper, you already know that not every disaster is a natural disaster. Many people have separate homes or shelters they can retreat to if other threats ever occur. It’s not uncommon to put a lot of time and effort into these secondary shelters. You might have shelves stocked with food, a strong foundation, and extra safety measures in place.
But, is it built for your pet, too?
The last thing you want to do is leave your pet behind because your secure location isn’t safe for them. So, when you’re making your home disaster ready, make sure you keep your furry family member in mind, too.
Making sure your furniture is pet-friendly will be a big help. You might not be able to buy new furniture during a disaster, so pet-friendly items that are durable, easy to clean, and will last a long time are essential. Additionally, having a pet bed or something they can climb on without worrying about it getting ruined will make them more comfortable and can offer you greater peace of mind.
Making Your Pet a Part of the Plan
If you have a plan in place for what your family should do during a disaster, don’t forget to include your pet. They’re not going to be able to “remember” their role or go through any kind of verbal drills to practice. So, someone should always be assigned to take responsibility for your furry friends if you need to suddenly leave your home.
Having a disaster plan that includes a pet isn’t too different from any human plan. But, it’s important to remember a few critical additions, including:
- Evacuating before a mandatory order
- Having a place to go ahead of time that allows pets
- Connecting with someone who can take care of your pet if you’re not home
- Relying on friends and family to help
If you’re stuck in your home or it’s too late to leave, make sure your plan includes extra safety measures for your four-legged friend. Keep toxic items out of their reach, designate a “safe room” or specific area for them, and have their supplies easily accessible. It’s also a good idea to close off any small areas of your home where your animal might try to hide. That’s especially important if you have a cat or dog who gets spooked easily.
One of the highest priorities you should have during a disaster is to make sure every member of your family is safe. When you truly care about your pet, that plan needs to include them. Like prepping for anything else, your efforts need to start now. No one knows when an emergency will happen. Being as prepared as possible for your pet’s sake will ensure their safety and make it easier to bring them along with you, even in the worst situations.