Disaster Preparedness: Earthquake and Tsunami Safety for Pet Owners

Be Prepared

No one on this planet is immune to natural disaster. Be prepared for whatever disaster may strike — earthquake, fire, tornado, hurricane — by assembling an emergency kit for the entire family, including pets. Keep your pets extra safe with up-to-date tags and microchips, which can be essential in a disaster in which a pet may become separated from you.

A typical pet emergency kit should include:

  • Pet first aid kit (available online)
  • Litter and disposable pans
  • One pet carrier per pet
  • Extra leashes and collars/harnesses
  • Food and water bowls
  • Two weeks’ worth of extra medication if your pet requires regular treatment (replace regularly so it doesn’t expire)
  • Blanket
  • Photocopies of your pets’ medical records
  • Recent photos of your pet

In large-scale disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis, the public water supply may be contaminated or disrupted. For this reason, all kits should include at least a seven-day supply of bottled water, in addition to three days' worth of nonperishable food items for you and your pets. For a full list of emergency supplies for earthquake preparedness, visit the Centers for Disease Control website.

Having spent the last couple of years worrying about earthquakes and tsunamis, I was surprised last month when a wildfire swept through my neighborhood and I had five minutes to evacuate. Fortunately for me, the same rules apply no matter the disaster. Because I was prepared, I was able to gather up my pets with time to spare. Enough time, in fact, to help my panicked neighbor round up her two cats on the way out.

We never think it’s going to happen to us. Be prepared anyway.

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