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National Preparedness Month with Pets in Mind

As September is National Disaster Preparedness Month, it is important to remember that your pet must be prepared for a natural disaster as well as your family! It's estimated that over 600,000 pets were displaced during Hurricane Harvey this summer, and although we do not have to worry about hurricanes in Illinois, there are other disasters that can affect us. Unfortunately, flooding is a real possibility for us and it is the most common and most costly disaster in the United States. However, there are steps you can take to prepare yourself, your family, and your pets to deal with flooding and other disasters!

1. Prepare: Build An Emergency Supply Kit For Your Pet

Just as you would do with your family’s emergency supply kit, think about the basics for survival for your pet’s kit, Have a separate bag for your pet with basic survival items and items to keep them happy and comfortable. Have at least three days of food in an airtight, waterproof container. Store at least three days of water specifically for your pet in addition to water you will need for yourself. Keep an extra supply of medicine your pet takes regularly and make sure you have copies of their medical records. Talk to your vet about what would be most appropriate for your pets first aid kit. You can also get a pet first aid reference book to help prepare your kit. Your pet should wear a collar with the rabies tag and ID tag on it. Include a backup leash and collar and ID tag in your bag. Be ready to transport with a crate or carrier that will be easy to bring with you. Make sure to add some plastic bags, paper towels and bleach to provide for your pets sanitation and disinfecting needs. If you become separated, it will be good to have a picture of you and your pet together. You can also include favorite toys, treats or bedding in the kit. Familiar items can help reduce stress for your pet.

2. Plan: What Will You Do In An Emergency

Creating an emergency escape plan for your family can be as easy as having a conversation over dinner. It is important to consider the exits in each rooms and the various escape routes through the house. Discuss these escape routes, along with alternates, with your whole family. Be sure to consider your pets and the usual location of their leashes or carriers as well! There are also stickers to put in your front window that will let emergency responders know what kind of pets you have and how many so that they can make sure that your pet is safe during an emergency. You can also make a list of contact information and addresses of area animal control agencies and hospitals. Keep a copy of this information in your supply kit. If you are in need of a place to stay, doing research before hand about pet friendly places to go will save time and frustration. Keep this information with your kit.

3. Practice Your Escape Plan

Your family should practice your escape plan when you make it, and at least twice a year following that. Even though a disaster is very serious, your drills don't have to be! Once you have the plan down pat, time how long it takes your family to evacuate your house and compare it to the last drill's time. Compete with yourselves, but make sure that you are not sacrificing perfection for time.

  • Periodically check your disaster preparedness bags

  • Learn dog CPR

  • Learn how to deal with smoke inhalation

  • Consider pet insurance

  • Create an emergency fund

4. Stay Informed: Know About Types Of Emergencies

It is important to stay informed about what might happen and know what types of emergencies are likely to affect your region as well as emergency plans that have been established by your state and local government. For more info about how to prepare you can visit

With these simple preparations, you and your pets can be ready for the unexpected. Take the time no to get yourself and your pets ready.