Emergency Preparedness

Dove Lewis

Download the printable Pet First Aid & Disaster Preparedness Quick Reference (PDF).

Pet First Aid

Keep a first aid safety kit on hand at home and if you travel with your pet, in your car. Keep essential medical record information including your pet’s name, age, breed, and sex, microchip number, vaccine history, and any preexiting health problems with any kit. This will make it easier to relay this information to a veterinarian if you call for assistance. Check out the quick reference guide for instructions for putting together your pet first aid kit. Registration and a schedule of DoveLewis’ Pet Health Workshops can be found here.

Preparing for ‘The Big One’

For folks living in the Pacific Northwest, the question isn’t ‘if’ but ‘when’ an earthquake will strike our area. In any emergency, local authorities may or may not be able provide immediate information on what you should do and the burden for the safety for your family and pets will fall on individual shoulders. According to DoveLewis’ Marilee Muzatko, CVT, VTS (ECC), preparation is key.

“Take time to learn about the possible disasters that may occur in your area. Formulate plans for the scenarios that might affect your family and pets, assemble the items needed in your kits for those plans, then test and revise plans as needed,” says Muzatko. “Having a prepared plan and supplies will help you stay calm during an incident which will in turn help your animal(s) be more calm and comfortable.”

Tips to prepare your pets and their kits

  • Keep your pet identified with a sturdy collar, current tags, and consider microchipping.
  • Keep a current photograph of your pet in case ‘missing’ posters need to be prepared. It is also helpful to have a current photo of you and your pet together to document ownership.
  • Prepare a pet first aid kit appropriate for your pet’s size and species.
  • Create pet specific evacuation kits—one with any regular medications and cycle the contents frequently so they do not expire; in the second, keep daily supplies (food, water, sanitation, bedding, and favorite treats or toys) to cover at least three days but better if up to seven days. 
  • Keep copies of important documents such as vaccination records, licenses, proof of ownership, microchip registration number, medical insurance papers, and your pet’s veterinary contact information in a waterproof plastic bag in your kit.
  • Identify alternate housing for your pet so it can be relocated if taking it with you to a public shelter is not permitted.

In the event that you are not home or unable to reach home to be with your animals when a disaster strikes, put a buddy system in place with neighbors or nearby friends and family to be sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets. Make sure they are comfortable with your animals. Review your plans with them, show them where emergency kits are kept, and agree upon a place to meet and how to communicate during an evacuation. It is always a good idea to post a “Pets Inside” sticker on your doors and windows as an alert to rescue workers. These stickers should include the number and types of pets that are in your home as well as a contact phone number for you or a designated responsible party. If time permits, when you or your neighbor leave with your pets, mark on the sticker that they are evacuated to save rescue worker resources.

If you are specifically told to evacuate or shelter-in-place, follow your plans and be prepared to act on official orders immediately to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your pets.