Did you know that during Hurricane Katrina, only 3% of New Orleans pets left behind were reunited with their families? That’s 3,100 out of 104,000 pets. While another 12,400 were rescued, they never found their owners.
We’ve been lucky in this area not to have had a Hurricane Katrina, but if you’re plan is to “figure it out,” there’s no time like the present! June is National Pet Preparedness Month, and below are some simples steps you can take to prepare your pet for an emergency.
If you’d like to learn more in person, come to Gateway Park, 1300 Lee Highway, Friday night (June 10) at 5 p.m. for a family and pet-friendly Pet Preparedness Festival prior to the Rosslyn Cinema’s showing of Beethoven 2. Learn pet preparedness tips, pick up pet-related giveaways from vendors, and enjoy free festivities, including a story time with the Arlington Public Library, climbing wall, face painting, balloon animal art, music, and prizes, as well as a beer and wine at a mobile bar, and snacks from the Chix N’Stix food truck.
- ID Your Pet
Make sure you pet has up-to-date ID tags with his/her and your name and contact information on her at all time so you can be reached if your pet is found. Include any urgent medical needs on her tag.
Microchip your pet; it is the only permanent way to identify your pet and link it back to you. The Animal Welfare League of Arlington hosts Microchipping Clinics nearly every month for $30. Be sure to register your pet once it is microchipped!
- Plan an Escape
If it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pet, so have a plan ready to take your pet with you if you have to leave during an emergency. Know where you will go and how you will get there.
- Ask friends and relatives outside of the immediate area if you and your pet can evacuate there.
- Contact your vet for a list of recommended boarding kennels.
- Know which hotels accept pets, and call ahead to see if they have breed/size restrictions.
While pet-friendly shelters may be available, they can be extremely stressful for animals, and should be used as your last resort.
- Designate a Buddy
While we hope we will be together with our loved ones when an emergency occurs, it is most likely that you will be at work, school, the gym, at dinner, etc.
Ask a neighbor or nearby friend to care for your pet if you are unable to return to your home due to an emergency. Consider someone you trust who is often home when you are out.
Be sure they have a key to your home, are prepared to evacuate with your pet (A big ask? Yes! Is your pet worth it? Absolutely!), and show them where you keep your pet’s go-bag. Set location to reconnect with them once you are safely able to evacuate.
- Make a Kit
Make sure you have enough supplies on hand for your pet for 3-7 days. Develop a grab-bag for your pet, and keep it near the door. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the bag is located.
Include the following items:
- Food/Water – 3 day supply + dishes
- Medicine w/directions – 2 week supply
- Collar/harness & leash
- Litter Tray (aluminum roasting pan works great!)
- Litter or paper towels
- Garbage bags for clean-up
- Pet carrier w/bedding
- Keep in waterproof container:
- Vet Records, including vaccinations
- Registration or proof of ownership
- Microchip information
- Recent picture of your pet
- Contact information for you, your veterinarian, your pet buddy, and any other important contacts
- Extra toys/treats
- Be Aware
Get notified when emergency, weather and traffic conditions are poor. Register for ArlingtonAlert.com to receive free alerts as well other important information during an emergency via text, voice or email.
Want to learn more? Come join us Friday at Gateway Park for the Pet Preparedness Festival! Or visit PreparedPets.com.
The preceding post was written and promoted by Arlington County’s Office of Emergency Management.