Hopefully, most pet owners know to have first aid kits, disaster bags/go bags and carriers at the ready in case we need to evacuate with our pets, but do you have a plan if something happens to you and you need someone else to provide care for your animals?
Here are some tips so that in the event of a car accident, flight delay or any other incident, there is a plan in place for your pets’ care in the event that you cannot return.
Wallet Card and Contact in Your Phone
The last thing I want to have to think about is getting into a car accident but the odds are unfortunately pretty high. If that happens and I cannot get home to my dogs for hours, days or you can imagine a worse scenario – who would the medical personnel or authorities contact and would they know you have pets whose lives depend on you being home?
Create a card that you can carry in your wallet, purse and store the same information on your phone. Many people have “ICE” listed in their contacts which stands for “In Case of Emergency”. Emergency responders know to look for this contact if of course your phone isn’t locked!
When they go through your wallet or purse, at least they will know that you have animals in your care.
Pet Care Professionals – do this now! You have other people’s pets in your care and if you suffer an accident, who knows to take care of them? Just make a wallet card that says “there are animals depending on my care, please call such and such”.
The card or information stored in your phone should be easy to find and can be pretty simple. Definitely let the finder know that you have pets at home and most importantly, who they should contact regarding their care. The second most important information being the address where the pets are, hopefully, you will have ID or a license so two and two can be put together, but in an emergency, make it easy for people to help you.
You can certainly go into details about how many pets you have, their names, kinds of pets etc. Add your veterinarian if space and at least information for two people you trust and have appointed to care for your pets.
Here is an example:
You can create your own card, download a free template online to print out, or buy cards online that you can fill in information with a pen. If you’re interested in this one, just drop me a line at cara at protrainings.com (only please replace the at with the @, trying to avoid pesky Internet trolls)
Notice on Your Windows or Door
Another place to put an alert notification is in your window or on the door/most obvious place of entry. An emergency pet alert sticker is ideal when you cannot access your home but someone like a firefighter or rescue worker can.
Like a wallet card or contacts in your phone, a sticker should list how many pets are inside and what species they are – this way a rescue worker will know what they are looking for.
Having a sticker on your home is a small but potentially pet life-saving step in preparing for emergency situations such as an earthquake, tornado, fire or flood. Many times homeowners are not allowed back in the area but rescue workers are, this allows someone who is searching through homes to know that you have a pet and they may need rescuing.
These are only $4 + free shipping if you live in the contiguous US. Just click on the photo to get yours today.
Pet Power of Attorney
Identifying a person to appoint to care for your pets even temporarily is not a task to be taken lightly. Remember that temporarily could turn into a lifetime. Speak with your friends and relatives, find someone that understands your wishes and is willing to take on the ownership or wellbeing of your pets should something happen to you.
Frequently check in with them every few months to make certain their life circumstances and their ability to provide care for your pets have not changed.
Have them sign a pet power of attorney which is an advanced directive. An advanced directive is a written statement of a person’s wishes, in this frame, the wishes for their pets’ care. Advance directives are signed to ensure those wishes are carried out should the person be unable to communicate them.
Here is an example of a pet power of attorney, please contact an attorney to have a legally binding one drawn up should you have interest.
PET CARE DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY ADVANCE DIRECTIVE
Durable Power of Attorney for Pet Care I, _______________________________________, hereby appoint_________________________________________________of
Ph. #’s ______________________________ hereinafter referred to as the “agent” to make any and all pet care decisions for my pet(s), except to the extent that I state otherwise in this document or as prohibited by law.
This durable power of attorney shall take effect in the event that I become unable to care for my pet(s) or when I die.
Statement of Desires, Special Provision and Limitations Regarding Care of My Pet(s)
If I am unexpectedly hospitalized, I have made arrangements with (agent) ___________________________, (agent’s address)____________________________________ (agent’s phone)______________________ to care for my pet(s) in a responsible manner.
Should my pet(s) be unable to continue living with a comfortable quality of life, I authorize the agent to direct that my pet(s) be humanely euthanized.
Circle and initial your choice:
If I should die or become permanently institutionalized:
I should authorize my agent to use her/his best judgment in finding good homes for my pet(s). If necessary my agent is authorized to seek the help of an animal shelter, veterinarian, and animal adoption service, and or a breed rescue/relocation organization to assist in the placing of my pet(s). I realize that there is the possibility that my pet(s) may have to be euthanized if suitable homes cannot be found.
I have made arrangements with (agent) ___________________________, (agent’s address)________________________________________ (agent’s phone)________________to take care of my pet(s) for the rest of her/his/their natural lifespan.
Other specific desires:
In the event that the person I have appointed is unable, unwilling, unavailable, or ineligible to act as my pet care agent, I hereby appoint the following as alternatives:
Ph. #’s ( ) ___________________________________
Ph. #’s ( ) ___________________________________
I hereby release the named person(s) and/or institution(s) relying on this Durable Power of Attorney for Pet Care from any and all liability to me or to my estate for any actions taken pursuant to this Advance Directive and them harmless for their reliance on any instructions of the designated agent or alternate.
In Witness Whereof , I have hereunto signed my name_____________________________ this day of _________________________________ I declare that the principal appears to be of sound mind and free from duress at the time of the signing of this Durable Power of Attorney for Pet Care and that the principal has affirmed that she or he is aware of the document and is signing it freely and voluntarily.
Date: _____________ Signed: ______________________________(agent)
Pet First Aid Kit
It is imperative that you have a pet first aid kit on hand. Emergencies happen and having the tools necessary to handle those emergencies can make the outcome so much better for your pet, and often your wallet.
I have these kits in my home, in both cars, and at my office. Two are in my home, one for regular use and one in my disaster go bag which I will discuss in just a bit.
There are 3 things that I add to my kits.
- Digital thermometer
- Petroleum jelly so I can take their temperature comfortably
- Neosporin or first aid ointment
Many of these items can be interchangeable for humans, some just for us like band-aids. It is important to know how to use these items to best help your pet and should go without saying that you have taken or are signed up to take a pet first aid & CPR class.
These are great to give as gifts or simply have available to anyone that is caring for your pets.
Pet Disaster Bag and Containment
A few months ago I stumbled upon this awesome company that puts together what I have painstakingly done myself. Good to know they have these products out there called Pet Evac Pack.
What Pet Evac Pack has done is helped you think of everything you could need in a disaster emergency like an evacuation due to flooding, and put it in a bag for you. They even have bagged water!
I have built my own, I have no idea how much I have spent but in addition to the first aid kit I have:
- Extra leashes
- Collars with my pets name tags
- Laminated copies of my animals’ rabies certificates
- Canned food
- Tupperware for food and water storage
Everything is in a duffle bag in my front hallway closet, ready on the go.
I also have X-pens, which are similar to crates since I have large dogs, tucked away in this closet. Pet Evac Pack makes packs that are also animal carriers, but it is always good to have the means to contain your furry family member as well.
It’s so hard to think about the what if’s with the intensity needed in the event that they do happen. Emergencies are not on our mind all the time so when they happen we are caught off-guard and ill-prepared.
It is easy to prevent that hopelessness feeling for you and your pets. Take a pet first aid class, plan for a disaster in your home, and plan for a disaster where you cannot get to your pets who are at home. Make it easy for first responders to help your pets. Have a go bag they can grab in an easily accessible location. Designate people now and constantly check in with them as to their willingness to act as your pets’ guardian.
Do this now.