Family Pet Safety 101
7 Easy Steps Will Have You Prepared
Our family pets rely on us to make sure they’re safe at all times. Whether that means protecting them during a natural disaster, a house fire or when a door or gate is accidentally left open, there are a few simple steps you can take ahead of time to be prepared.
Get your children involved in these steps so they’re also prepared in case of an emergency.
Nationwide pet insurance offers tips for families with pets, with advice for teaching children how to help groom, exercise, and ensure home and food safety for pets.
1. Pet Collars and ID Tags
Maximize the ability to be reunited with pets: make sure your pet wears a durable collar with up-to-date contact information on identification tags.
Purchasing a collar and tags can be a fun family outing: Take your children with you to a local pet store and let them help you select the perfect pet collar and ID tag design.
There is a special quick-release collar made for dogs and cats; in case of an outdoor escape (or an incident indoors), the collar will snap open under pressure in the event your pet becomes entangled around the neck.
2. Microchipping Pets
If your pet is microchipped, you’ve just increased your chances of being reunited with a pet that has escaped through an open door.
A microchip is a tiny computer chip — about the size of a grain of rice — that is implanted by an injection similar to a vaccine needle under the skin of your pet. Birds, reptiles, horses and other animals can also be microchipped. Anesthesia is not necessary and most animals don’t feel the injection, which is done by a veterinarian.
Each chip has a unique code. When read under a hand-held scanner, the code will appear on the screen. The code is then entered into the manufacturer’s database and, if you have registered your information, your pet will be connected to you.
Tip: Remember to update your personal information if your address or phone number changes during your pet’s lifetime.
3. Have a Pet First Aid Kit On Hand
If your pet suddenly falls ill or becomes injured, it’s important to stabilize him before getting to a veterinarian. You can easily create a pet first aid kit.
Get a container (one of your children’s old lunch pails would work) and fill it with scissors, tweezers, gloves, gauze pads and rolls, a soft muzzle, alcohol prep pads, a cold pack, a digital thermometer, hydrogen peroxide and a blanket or towel.
To learn more about creating a pet first aid kit and how to use it, check out this pet first aid infographic.
4. Pack an Emergency Go-Kit
Prepare an emergency go-kit for pets. The kit should contain some of your pet’s food, his veterinary paperwork, prescription medications, if any, and photo/description of your pet. You may have to board your pet at a kennel or other facility until you get settled after an emergency, and proof will be required that your pet has current vaccinations.
5. Know Your Pet's Hiding Space
During a fire, earthquake or any other natural disaster your pet will be terrified, and will most likely run to the place he feels most safe. Knowing his common hiding place can make the biggest difference in having the time to get your pet to safety.
6. Alert Firefighters to Indoor Pets
Place a Pet Rescue Fire Safety Sticker in your window. These stickers, which are available free from most pet stores and non-profit humane organizations, stick to your front window and tell firefighters to “Please rescue my pets!” They let fire crews know that you have pets inside the house, how many, and what kind, whether you’re home or not.
7. Secure Your Pet During Danger
Always evacuate your pets on a leash or in a pet carrier. Pets can panic during an emergency and they may bolt when outside, making them difficult to find. Put your dog on a leash; you can carry a cat or exotic pets in a carrier.