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Do you have an emergency checklist for your pet?
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Do you have an emergency checklist for your pet?

As pet owners, we always do our best to keep our animals safe and well, and do what we can to ensure that we take care of them if something unexpected happens. While you cannot plan for every eventuality, do you know what you would do if your pet suddenly went missing, got hurt, or there was a fire or other emergency at your home?

Setting up a pet checklist ensures that you can do everything possible to prepare for the unexpected, plus get a head start at resolving things if something unexpected did go wrong.

Not sure what this involves? Read on for our nine-point emergency pet checklist to copy for use at home.

1. Have a ready-to-go first aid kit

Just as most of us have a first aid kit to hand for people, it is equally important to have one prepared for your pet as well. As well as containing essential first aid equipment, your kit should also contain a basic pet-specific first aid guidebook for the type of pet that you have, plus copies of your pet’s veterinary records. Keep your kit to hand within the home, and take it with you wherever your dog goes, such as out in the car or on holiday with you.

For more information on making up a first aid kit for your pet, check out this article.

2. Keep your pet’s ID details up to date

Hopefully your cat or dog is already microchipped, and if not, now is the time to book them in for a chip! But is your pet’s microchip information all up to date, or do you need to change details such as your address or contact phone number to ensure that your pet makes it home if they get lost? Check now! Also, if your pet wears a collar and tag, check that the details on the tag are up to date too, and clearly legible.

3. What would you do with your pet in an emergency?

If you or someone close to you had to go into hospital and you were unable to care for your pet, or if your home was evacuated for some reason, what would you do with your pet? Now is the time to find out about boarding facilities, pet sitters and other forms of care in your local area, which would be able to take care of your pet or help you out at short notice if something should happen.

4. Getting to a vet

If your pet should become ill or injured suddenly, they are going to need to see a vet. Ensure that you have the contact details for your own vet both saved in your phone and displayed prominently within your home, plus keep a few back-up numbers for other vets too, in case your own vet is unavailable.

It is also wise to find out about pet transport services or taxi companies that will be willing to transport your pet to the vet if you are unable to.

5. Does someone local know that you have pets at home?

If you were out and something such as a fire or evacuation happened inn your area, is there a neighbour or friend nearby who knows that you have pets and has access to your home that would be able to evacuate them for you? While it is of course very unlikely that something like this would happen, it is important to have a plan in place for your pets when you are not at home.

6. Know where to look for lost pets

If your cat or dog goes missing, vital time can be wasted trying to find out where to search for them. This doesn’t just mean where to search physically, but also, where to look for help and advice; websites that send out alerts to people in your area to be on the lookout, vets and rehoming shelters, and microchipping companies. Make a list, and a plan, of what you would need to do if your pet wandered off or was lost or stolen.

7. Do you have an up-to-date picture of your pet?

It is a good idea to keep an up-to-date picture of your pet with you or easily accessible, in case they get lost or something happens to them. Try to pick a shot that is a good representation of your pet as they look in real life, showing all of their prominent markings, rather than a picture that shows them wrapped in a blanket or doing a trick.

8. Where does your pet hide?

This is more relevant to cat owners than dog owners, but even dogs will tend to have safe place or hidey hole that they will retreat to if they are scared or upset. Try to find out where your own pet will go ahead of time, but without disturbing them in their safe spot, which might encourage them to give it up for a new one.

9. Have leads or carriers to hand

Can you put your hand on your cat’s carrier or your dog’s collar and lead within a few seconds, without having to search about or root through cupboards? You never know when you might need to get them in a hurry, so make sure that they are ready to use and easy to access at all times.

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