Our pets depend on their human ‘mommy and daddy’. How we plan for our pets prior to encountering a disaster can mean the difference between life and death!

Pets are part of our family. I know my rescue dog Flakes (aptly named as he is a bit flaky and very ‘yappie’) could not survive a disaster without pre-planning.

I suggest you make pet awareness a part of your business continuity blog and newsletter. Also, invite the ASPCA to participate in your next lunch and learn. Devoting even 10 minutes during an upcoming tabletop would be valuable. Believe me, the attendees will appreciate the ‘beyond business’ concern for their pets’ welfare.

The tips and resources below can help keep pets safe when disaster strikes:

*I also recommend you review this informative PetSmart article for some great tips on caring for your pet in extreme weather.

Tip – Find shelter for your pet – family pets left behind during an evacuation rarely survive on their own. Make sure there is a predetermined place they can go because not all shelters allow pets. There are some very sad stories of pets that were left behind. Do not let it happen to your beloved pet. Perhaps you, your family and friends can create a reciprocal plan to care for each other’s pets during a crisis. If you plan early enough, some pet shelters will make reservations. Other options include hotels, boarding facilities or veterinarians.

Tip – Develop a plan for ‘regular emergencies’ – your pet may suffer if you encounter a ‘regular emergency’ such as getting stuck on the highway or forgetting to turn on the A/C. Plan with neighbors, friends or relatives to make sure that someone is available to help. I set up a plan with my neighbors and I now travel with less worry in case I am delayed.

Tip – Create a pet emergency kit. Some items to include are:

  • A pet first-aid kit with all pet medications
  • Enough food to last up to a week, stored in an airtight, waterproof container
  • At least three days of water specifically for pets
  • Toys to occupy pets. To our chagrin, Flakes considers our TV remote control a toy and enjoys when I chase him around the house to get it back. I bought a safe remote control toy that I now keep in the kit to make him happy.
  • A collar with ID tag, harness or leash
  • Important documents such as copies of registration information, adoption papers, vaccination documents and medical records in a clean see-through plastic bag or waterproof container
  • A crate or other pet carrier
  • Sanitation supplies, which may include litter and litter box, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household cleaner
  • A physical and digital online picture of you and your pet together in case of a possible separation during an emergency – you may need help in identifying your pet

Tech can help:

  • The ASPCA recommends micro-chipping pets so they can be identified and returned to you even without tags. Another option is to invest in a GPS tracker so you can find your pet without a third party
  • This ASPCA app(http://www.aspca.org/mobileapp) will also help you keep track of animal records required to board pets at an emergency shelter and has other helpful tips for a variety of situations
  • New home automation devices allow you to watch your pet from your smartphone. You can also control the temperature and lights in your home from anywhere. I hooked up a simple camera at home that allows me to rotate the view 360% from a mobile app. It even has the ability to notify me if there is motion detected. You can implement it for under $100.