Over the past year in my home, no one enjoyed the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” orders more than our puppy, Charlie (see photo). Our family was home 24/7 and was available for countless games of fetch, multiple belly rubs, and constant distribution of treats. Now, with vaccinations and safety measures in place, my family looks forward to hitting the road this summer and bringing Charlie with us. This means updating our family’s travel emergency kit.
When making an emergency kit for your family, it is important to remember your pets as well. Start with the basics of their everyday needs and build from there. Consider what they would need if your family needed to shelter-in-place or evacuate.
Here are a few things to remember, whether you are planning for an emergency or just traveling with your furry friend:
- Pet owners should always have several days’ worth of fresh food, water, and medications on hand. Store food and medicine in an airtight, waterproof container.
- Invest in a travel bag or sturdy carrier for your pet. Don’t forget to include a favorite toy, blanket, or bed.
- Keep a backup collar, ID, and leash for each pet.
- Always have waste bags or litter boxes available.
- Keep a current copy of your pet’s vaccination records and your veterinarian’s contact information available for emergencies.
- Keep a printed and digital photo of your pet to reference if you become separated.
- If your pet is microchipped, be sure the contact information listed with the provider is current.
Lastly, if your family needs to evacuate or relocate, have a plan for your family and your pets. Make a list of local shelters and pet-friendly hotels where you could stay together. It can also be a good idea to set up a reciprocal agreement with a neighbor or nearby friend to check on your pets if you are unable to get home in a timely manner while you do the same for them (make sure that person will be able to enter your house).
Animals can experience anxiety whenever there are changes to their routine, whether it is traveling on a long road trip, adapting to a new environment, or experiencing an emergency with their family. Planning and preparing for their safety will take most of the uncertainty out of a potentially stressful situation, helping you and your pet feel safe and secure.
I am not sure how Charlie will do with us on vacation, but I have peace of mind knowing we will have everything he needs to feel comfortable and cared for while we are away. I just need to remember to return everything to our home emergency kit when we get back.
Christine Stevens is a member of CERT Team 9 and a Concord Commons resident.