What do you do when you have several pets and you are faced with an immediate danger – gas leak, house fire, brush fire, flood, other emergencies that arise with little or without prior warning.
It’s important to be prepared before any disaster strikes by putting together a kit that you can reach quickly and easily.
Include in the kit a headlamp or flashlight and extra batteries, towel, blankets, bottled water, trash bags, food for a few days, any medications labeled clearly for which pet and dosages in a sealed plastic bag. Any medications that need to be refrigerated should be placed in a separate plastic bag, labeled and within easy reach in the refrigerator.
Dogs should have separate leashes. Place them together close to the emergency kit. Keep small animals such as gerbils and hamsters in easily portable cages.
Train your cats, birds and dogs to respond to a bell, whistle or clicker or a special word so that you don’t have to waste precious time searching for them.
Cats and birds can be placed in pillowcases, preferably cotton ones and either standard or queen/king size for a larger pet. Your pets can breathe easily in the pillowcases. You can either use gloves or place your hand inside the pillowcase, catch the cat or bird, turn the pillowcase inside out over the pet, fold the neck of the pillowcase and secure with a rubberband. You can tuck the end of the pillowcase in your belt or pants to free your hands to catch another pet. Pillowcases can be different colors to remind you which pet is inside. Alternatively if you have only one or two birds, you can use the pillowcases to capture them and place them in smaller emergency cages.
Keep pillowcases rolled up separately with individual rubberbands in a plastic bag with your emergency kit. Add some spare rubberbands.
Keep your car filled with gas. Have a battery-operated radio to keep up with the news of the disaster. In that way, you know in which direction it is safe to go. Have spare keys to the house and car ready.
All supplies,including batteries and medications should be checked from time to time. Replace any that are outdated, stale or no longer working.
Practice evacuation with your pets so that in case of immediate need, you have the routine down to minutes. Keep a first aid kit with supplies for the types of pets you have in the car and also at home.