Emergency Preparedness For Birds

(Want to make these birdies?  Check out this post!)

The anniversaries of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina remind me how important it is that we plan to care for our whole family for an extended period of time in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.  This is a good time to get started.  This post has been a long time coming and was researched consulting the AVMA, FEMA, ASPCA, HSUS, CDC, Petfinder, & more.  I hope you find it useful!  (I ask that if you re-post it, that you give credit to & link to PetProject.)

It’s not that I’m all gloom and doom. It’s just that in the event of a disaster, I don’t want to be forced to rely on other agencies, if I can help it, and I know my pets will be safest under our care, so I’m working to be as prepared as possible. I live in earthquake country and we have a kit to take care of everyone in our family—human, feline, and canine. Getting prepared has been an ongoing process so I can spread out the cost and spread out the time & energy spent on the project.

Make sure your whole family is taken care of and do not leave your pets to fend for themselves. Keep them with you. If you evacuate and think you’ll only be away from your home a short time, take your animals with you! You don’t know when or if you’ll be able to return to your home.

I’ve divided the list into categories and put a ♥ by the items to start with first. Don’t get overwhelmed. Begin with the ♥ items and once you have those, set a goal—maybe 1-2 items every other week? And begin by gathering at least 3 days worth of supplies and work up to 1-2 weeks. Defray the costs by checking thrift stores and looking for sales.

Tasks:

  1. ♥Microchip or band your bird if possible & keep the registered contact information up-to-date
  2. ♥Talk to your vet about obtaining medication for your emergency kit
  3. ♥Construct an Avian First Aid Kit
    1. Drs. Foster & Smith First Aid List
    2. AvianWeb First Aid Kit List
  4. Place “Pets Inside” stickers at each entrance to your home listing what types of animals you have & how many—here’s where you can get a free decal
  5. Make up “Lost” posters for your pets (in case they get lost) with space for up-to-date contact information if you’ve evacuated, here’s a form that will create a poster for you
  6. Develop a plan that doesn’t rely solely on public emergency shelters (most won’t allow animals)–we plan to keep our pets with us, so we have a tent, etc.
  7. Petfinder has a number of useful links for finding pet friendly motels/hotels—identify nearby options & options outside your local area
  8. Coordinate with a nearby friend or trustworthy neighbor to take care of your pets in case something happens while you’re away from your home (make sure your friend or neighbor is familiar with your pets & that your pets are comfortable with them, give them a key & care information for your pets, be clear about your arrangement—will they just feed & water your pets at your house, will they take custody of your pets, etc.)
  9. Find out if your vet will board animals in the event of an emergency
  10. Contact your local animal control & humane society about their disaster plan (what services they plan to provide, where they intend to be located)
  11. Plan to keep your pets separate from each other—animals under extreme stress or in pain can be unpredictable and your dog could attack your bird, etc.
  12. If you live in a disaster prone area:
    1. consider using a feeder on a timer
    2. consider using a large waterer
    3. if you are likely to evacuate, find an avian vet in that area ahead of time
    4. learn about coping with evacuation gridlock
    5. make sure you’ve planned for space in your vehicle for your pets
  13. Familiarize yourself with what to do in an emergency
    1. the AVMA has a superb manual
    2. the Humane Society has good tips, including dealing with everyday emergencies
  14. Special tips for preparing for tornados

Documents:

  1. ♥up-to-date vaccination records (could help in your obtaining shelter)
  2. ♥proof of ownership—pet license records, adoption forms, registration papers, etc.
  3. ♥recent photos of all your pets, include distinguishing marks (for lost posters, online notices)
  4. ♥photos of you with your pets (documenting they are your pets)
  5. detailed descriptions of your pets

Items:

  1. ♥contact information for:
    1. your veterinarian
    2. emergency veterinarian
    3. area shelters
    4. ASPCA Animal Poison Control 1 (888) 426-4435
  2. ♥sturdy traveling cage or carrier marked with identification & contact information—make sure whatever you use will fit in your car
  3. ♥blanket to cover cage (for warmth or to reduce stress)
  4. ♥sheet to cover cage in warm weather
  5. ♥towel
  6. ♥1-2 weeks supply of cage liner
  7. ♥paper towels
  8. ♥spray bottle of water (to mist bird)
  9. ♥manual can opener
  10. ♥1-2 weeks of food
  11. ♥1-2 weeks of water
  12. ♥canned fruit & vegetables in natural juice, no salt added –OR– baby food jars of fruit & vegetables –OR– organic, unsweetened apple sauce
  13. ♥current Avian First Aid manual
  14. hot water bottle (for warmth)
  15. almonds in shell for treat
  16. dietary supplements
  17. cuttlebone/beak conditioner
  18. wooden chew pieces
  19. finger traps for shredding
  20. toys
  21. spray bottle of vinegar for cleaning
  22. spoon
  23. dish soap
  24. dish brush
  25. Pedialyte
  26. net or blanket for catching escaped bird
  27. wire (repair cage if needed)
  28. pliers (repair cage if needed)
  29. zip ties to secure doors on cage/carrier

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