Posted on

Emergency Preparation

How prepared are you for an emergency?

How wild have the past few years been? Natural disasters have reeked havoc across the country. Wild fires in places we’ve lived for decades and never seen a fire, floods, hurricanes. Life is crazy but the only control we have over these situations is being adequately prepared. Now let me touch on the ABSOLUTE MOST IMPORTANT THING.

1. Your chances of saving your pet are directly correlated to how easily you can gather your pets, children, and other dependents. And absolutely, positively, your life and the lives of your human dependents are the primary concern. If getting your animals out of your home means risking your life, consider choosing life over heroics and make sure you have an emergency alert sticker on your home and leave a carrier easily accessible.

And for the sake of the true heroes, during an evacuation, please leave a simple paper sign on the door stating if you have evacuated and evacuated your pets.

2. Crate and carrier train every single animal in your care. Remember when I said your chances are directly correlated to your ease of retrieving the animals? That is an absolute fact. Your pets should associate a carrier to positive experiences. You must be able to grab them. I hear this often among chinchilla groups, but “I cannot handle my chinchilla” is not acceptable on a day to day. Start practicing the tail hold and associate it to treat time or dusting. Take a firm hold at the base of the tail, place your chinchilla in a carrier. Provide dust, sticks, or a safe treat. Do this often. After visiting a vet or other negative experience, practice more frequently to regain the positive association. The tail hold does not hurt them. It is not upsetting. It is perfectly fine and safer than risking breaking a chinchillas fragile ribs trying to grab them.
Photo Credit Let’s Love Chinchillas

No matter what kind of pet you have, it is imperative you can handle them and they are relatively easy to get into a travel carrier.

Do you have an appropriate carrier for your pet’s species?

For a rodent, we want a fully metal, solid bottom, smaller carrier. Why should it be small? Your pet doesn’t have seat belts in the car. The roads and drivers in a natural disaster are not calm, cool, and collected, but you will be more so if you know your pet isn’t going to be tumbled around an oversized carrier if you have to swerve or slam on your brakes. Check out Quality Cage’s carriers. Make sure you have enough compartments for different caged pets. In an emergency, this isn’t a great time to attempt bonding on the fly.

Check out all metal carriers here

Do you have a plan?

Who can you board your pets with? So when we evacuated with our pets, I couldn’t get a hold of my usual location for boarding. I also couldn’t find a hotel within 120 miles because the entire state was on fire. And whatever I was going to find wasn’t going to have reliable HVAC to maintain a safe space for chinchillas. If you have friends who would take your pet, do you have a travel cage?

Quality Cages Collapsible Travel cage is all metal, fits in most trunks, and can accommodate chinchillas, guinea pigs, rats or small rabbits. I would go for something with a more heavy duty locking system like a small dog crate for ferrets. The entire cage fits into that steel pan so it is very easy to store and I store 3 stacked on a closet shelf out of sight, out of mind until they are needed.

Quality Cages Collapsible Travel Cage for small to medium sized rodents

An easy access bag with some food, water, and emergency necessities appropriate for your pets is highly recommended. You may be able to get to a pet shop. You may not. You may have a pet boarder with supplies available. You may not. But as a final note, your level of planning, preparation, and ability to physically handle your pets is going to dictate your mental space in an emergency. You need to be calm, cool, and collected, so you need to be well versed in packing up all your pets in a pinch. Practice today because in those moments you will have emergency alerts going off, emergency personnel pounding on your door, friends and family calling and texting non-stop. It is a high stress situation. 

You are amazing, strong, and capable and you can do this, but practice makes perfect so carrier train all of your pets today.