Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The First 72 Hours: Prepping and Pets

Part 5 of a continuing series on prepping for a disaster, with an emphasis on how and where to start while on a Blue Collar budget.

Prepping and Pets

Keeping the 4-legged (and other) 
members of your family safe

Pets are an important part of many families. There are as many pets in the U.S. as there are people, not including exotics (reptiles, rodents and fish) or wild animals. These all can feel like a part of our family and in a disaster will have us making very difficult decisions.

Have a Plan

Make your pets part of the plan now, not after your most likely disaster hits. If sheltering in place is not an option and you had to leave, DO EVERYTHING IN YOUR POWER TO TAKE YOUR PETS WITH YOU! If Hurricane Katrina is used as an example of a wide spread disaster (and the human failings before and after made it worse!), lost and abandoned pets by the thousands were never found or reunited with their owners.

As always, take this information and adapt or change it to your specific, most-likely-to-occur disaster.

Before the 8.0+ earthquake

  • There should already be water, food, treats, crates and leashes for your pets available in or near your storage area, along with any medicine they require. Two weeks of dry food for each pet should be your easy goal. 
  • Alongside your other important papers should be several pictures of your pets and copies of their licenses and vaccination records. Put this info on a thumb drive as well. 
  • Have up to date ID and licenses on your dogs and or microchips on your cats. Check with your local animal rescue groups for low-cost chipping. Here in the S.F. East Bay area, I have a friend who can get animals chipped for $10! Collars and ID tags can cost as much, and the chips cannot be slipped out of or broken.
  • If you have to leave your home but can’t ‘Bug Out’, be aware that Service Dogs are the only pets allowed into most government-run emergency shelters. Have a list of friends who could care for your pets or check with your Vet for boarding kennels and catteries. Have a list of hotels that allow pets, also.

During the Big One

  • Having grown up in N. California and having felt literally hundreds of earthquakes, I know that there is little you can do during an earthquake to make your pets safe. In the 1989 earthquake (during which the actual shaking lasted 20 seconds), I was outside and my dog ran out of the house and tried to jump in my lap. I was standing at the time and a 55lb. Airedale Terrier running at top speed is not exactly lap-friendly! 


  •  Check the area your pets have access to and make sure there are no hazardous conditions like broken glass, spilled chemicals or exposed wires. Confine or leash your pets while cleaning up or until they have calmed down.
  • If the very worst happens and your pet is injured, do you have First Aid supplies appropriate for them? Here is one place to find this info, along with other handy tips on caring for your pet.  Look at the link for suggested supplies. Plan on extra water to wash your pets’ feet, at a minimum, if there is the possibility of any contamination from chemicals, sewage or waste water.
  • Have a favorite toy, blanket, bedding and treats available to help calm them down. Other family members, especially children, can be given the job of caring for your pets. This comes with the side benefits of calming themselves at the same time and feeling like they are helping out.    
  • After looking after your pets, check on your neighbors' and friends' pets. The safety of you and your pets could very easily be affected by loose and frightened animals around you.
  • If ‘Bugging Out” is required, your pre-planned and in-place pet supplies will take up very little room and will reduce the stress of worrying about your left behind pets!

Next Week

An update to my Blue Collar Prepping supplies and a Gear Review of a small, inexpensive portable stove mentioned in a previous post's comment!

As always, if you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

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