There are a lot of things to be prepared for when you are a pet parent, but one that you may not have thought of is having to shelter in place with your pets.
What is sheltering in place? Well, it’s exactly like it says. When an emergency or disaster is imminent you take shelter in a building. Hopefully, in your home, but it could be at work. Depending on the threat, you may need to shelter in place until you can be safely evacuated or you may be able to leave once the threat is past.
When you have pets, there are things you have to take into consideration in the event you might need to shelter into place.
- The type of hazard you may need to shelter for
- The areas of your home that would work best for sheltering
- What supplies you’ll need to keep on hand.
- What plan to have in place in case you must shelter in place elsewhere and are separated from your pets
You’ll want to be prepared for any situation to happen.
What Type of Emergencies Could You and Your Pet Encounter?
Knowing what potential disasters could happen in your area will help you plan.
Do you live in an area where a natural disaster such as flooding or tornadoes is prone to occur?
Is there a large manufacturing plant in your area that could be the source of a man-made disaster such as leaking chemicals?
You’ll want to be sure to be prepared for caring for your pet for events that have a high chance of happening in your area. But also keep in mind that there is always the chance that another type of disaster should occur such as the need to shelter in place due to something like a pandemic.
Where in your Home Should You and Your Pet Shelter?
Where you shelter in place in your home will depend on what type of disaster it is that you sheltering from.
Some situations will require you to shelter in place as a way of putting a barrier between you and the disaster. For a disaster that has the potential to cause a lot of damage such as a tornado, the best location is your basement or an interior room. You want to be away from windows, doors and outside walls. For disasters where there is contamination, such as a chemical leak, you’ll need to seal off windows and doors before moving to an interior area.
Other disasters could require to shelter in place, but not require you to be so confined. This could happen when something like a blizzard or pandemic is affecting your community. You’ll be free to move around inside your home and depending on the situation may even be allowed to go outside with some restrictions.
You’ll want to be prepared for all situations when it comes to being prepared with your pet
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What Pet Supplies Should You Have For Sheltering In Place?
Being prepared means making sure to have pet supplies on hand to get you through the time you have to shelter in place whether it’s a few hours or a few days.
You’ll want to make sure to have the most important pet supplies on hand in case an emergency happens- food, water, and medicine. It’s a good idea to make sure you have at least enough to get you through 2 weeks.
Then there are pet supplies to have on hand that will help keep you safe and help relieve some stress.
Some items to think about are:
A crate/carrier– If you have to shelter in place because something like a tornado is approaching, you’ll want your pet with you in a dog crate or cat carrier. This keeps them from running off so you can’t find them. A hard crate/carrier also gives them a little more protection than a soft one if there is damage from the disaster.
To help your pet, you’ll want to get them used to being in their crate/carrier well before any disaster happens. This way they’ll be comfortable spending time in there and they won’t go running when you pull the carrier out. I periodically leave my carrier out so my cats can go in and out of it as they like.
An inside bathroom area– If you have to shelter in place, but can’t go outside, you’ll need to have someplace for your dog to go to the bathroom. If your dog is fine using piddle pads, you are good. You just need to designate a spot for your potty area.
If your dog is only used to going to the bathroom outside, it might be difficult for them to make the transition to using the pads. It might be easier if you can set up an indoor potty area that uses grass. Some people use a wading pool with pieces of sod. You can also buy indoor potties that use fake grass.
Toys– If you’re going to be sheltering place for a period of time, you’re going to need some things to keep your pet busy especially if your normal routine is interrupted.
Puzzle toys are great for providing mental stimulation especially when your pet can’t be as active as they normally are.
What Should You Do If You Are Separated From Your Pets During an Emergency?
While we hate to think about it, there is always the chance the order to shelter in place comes when you are separated from your pet and won’t be able to get back until the order is withdrawn. You’ll want to have a few things in place to make sure your pet is taken care of.
An Emergency Contact– Have a family member or friend who is willing to step in and help if something happens where you can’t care for your pet. You’ll want to be sure they have access to your home so they can care for or collect your pet
Care Instructions– Having some instructions written down will help your pet’s caretaker care for your pet as close to normal as possible.
Having to go through an emergency situation is hard. By being prepared for caring for our pets while going through it, you’ll ease some of the stress while making sure your pet gets the care they need.