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Emergency pet preparedness is key when seconds count

August 1, 2017

With wildfires still burning in British Columbia and thousands of evacuees still waiting for the word to return home, the BC SPCA is encouraging the province’s pet guardians to remember to plan for their furry family members in the event of an emergency.

“People don’t necessarily think about their pet in an emergency situation until it’s too late,” says Bob Busch, general manager of facility development for the BC SPCA. “You don’t have time to gather up everything you need if you have to get out of your home right away.”

Busch, who was part of a large team of BC SPCA volunteers who helped out during the busy forest fire season of 2003 – including the Okanagan Mountain Park fire that consumed more than 25,000 hectares of forest and park land, destroyed 239 homes and forced the evacuation of more than 27,000 people – remembers how busy BC SPCA volunteers were providing pet food and supplies to many distraught pet guardians.

“So many people forgot feeding bowls, food, leashes, everything,” he says. “We learned how important it is to plan ahead and be prepared (PDF) for any emergency. People love their pets but it often doesn’t sink in that an emergency can happen at any time.”

BC SPCA manager of animal welfare Kim Monteith, who goes through pet emergency preparedness details in the Tip Tuesday video below, notes the BC SPCA offers a handy checklist for emergency situations.

Items to include in an emergency kit for your pet(s) include:

  • A seven-day supply of food and water
  • Identification tag and collar
  • Sturdy crate and/or carrier
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Blanket/plastic bags
  • Leash, harness
  • Food and water bowls (collapsible are great)
  • Litter box and litter for cats
  • Manual can opener
  • Copy of your pet’s current vaccination history
  • Any special medications and instructions

Additional Resources

“Evacuation essentials for pet owners” – emergency planning tips from the Province of British Columbia
“Disaster preparedness guidelines for horse owners” – Fact sheet from Horse Council British Columbia (PDF)

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