The past week and a half of natural disasters have more than proved that September is National Disaster Preparedness Month.  The citizens of east Texas and Louisiana are still bailing out after Hurricane Harvey, and we have Hurricane Irma heading towards Florida.  And September isn’t even in double digits yet…


Most of us are pet owners, and while Northern Virginia isn’t supposed to get hit as hard as our neighbors to the south, everyone should have an evacuation plan for their pets.  Here is what you need to pack if you and your pets need to leave:


  1. Food and water for six days. Put the dry food in resealable baggies, and bring a can opener if you are bringing canned food.  You should count on one gallon of water per pet per day.  Animals, like people, can panic during a disaster and you made need the extra water to clean things up if your pet soils itself.


  1. A reliable carrier for cats and smaller animals and a collar as well as a harness for your dog(s). Make sure your dog’s I.D. is on its collar, but attached the leash to the harness in case you have to move quickly, or your dog panics and bolts.  Tracheal trauma is not something you want to deal with on top of a natural disaster.


  1. For cat owners, bring a litter box, litter, scoop, and plastic bags for waste removal


  1. Medications for up to six days as well as a copy of your pet’s medical records, including rabies vaccination records, as well as your veterinarian’s name and contact information.


  1. A recent picture of you with your pet in case you are separated. Seriously, take one NOW with your phone—it doesn’t matter if you are having a bad hair day.  Most of our pets are microchipped (if yours isn’t, get to your veterinarian NOW and have it done), but depending on the scope of the disaster, many relief agencies might not have scanners.  While natural disasters only occur during a short period of time, picking up the pieces can take months.  No matter where you end up; your old home or a new one, you want your best friend to be by your side.