Shawndra Holmberg, CPO-CD
7 documents you must have in your pet's emergency kit
Place the following documents and records into a resealable plastic bag (2 bags are better than one) or a water proof poach and add it to your pet’s emergency kit.
Vet records. Include vaccination records, particularly rabies, and any special instructions or health concerns. Highlight the description of your pet (breed, weight, coloring, etc.) to find it quickly if you need to describe your pet. Sure, you know what they look like, but your vet may describe them differently.
Vet contact information. It’s probably in your contacts already, but add it to your paper and paperless records.
Recent photo of pet. It’s likely you have several (if not a thousand) pet photos on your phone. Print several. Include photos from different sides and show any special marking, like that back paw that is white or the tip of the tail that’s black, etc. Get items in the background that can help determine actual size of the pet. A chair can help the authorities know whether your dog is 10 pounds of attitude or 50 pounds of fluff.
Microchip records. Refer to 3 Easy Steps to the Safe Return of Your Pet for details on microchipping. Be sure to update your information and include it with your emergency kit paperwork. Your local humane society may be able to help with updating the information or you may have to contact the manufacturer.
Detailed Care Instructions. In case you cannot care for your pet, include special feeding, medication, supplements, and care instructions. If your dog needs a grain-free diet, or your cat needs medicine, or your bird needs to be covered at night, write it down and include it in your kit.
Other Vital Documents, such as adoption papers and proof of ownership. Add anything you think the authorities might need to reunite you with a lost pet.
You may choose to go paperless for most situations, but for these items, use both paper and paperless copies so you can access the information regardless of emergency conditions. After all, you’re preparing for an emergency or a disaster and you don’t know whether the electricity and the internet will work in your area.
Place the print copy of the records in a waterproof bag. Though most manufacturers of the reclosable zipper bags, like Ziploc®, will not call these bags waterproof, they’re a good start until you can get waterproof bags in your emergency kit (if you choose to). I use the freezer bags and double bag. It’s not guaranteed, but it’s a start.
Scan or snap a picture of these documents and keep the paperless copy in the cloud application you prefer such as Dropbox, Box, Google Drive. Keep another copy in a note-taking app such as Evernote, OneNote, or Google Keep for easy access and sharing on your phone or tablet. I prefer Dropbox and Evernote, but I’ve used them all. Share your cloud folder and your notebook with trusted family members or friends. Give access to this information to at least one person who lives outside of the state.
You will also want to have a copy of these documents and records with your essential information and important records you either keep in your emergency kit or ready to Grab & Go. I refer to this collection as a PIC (Personal Information Center). Your PIC is a physical notebook or a digital file containing essential personal information and important records such as copies of utility bills, bank and credit card statements, medical history, wills, birth certificates, death certificates and other vital documents. Get more information on creating your PIC at Build Your Personal Information Center.
The notebook makes it easier for you to collect all the important information on your family, home, finances, and medical in one place, so that in an emergency you can take your PIC and go.
Remember to add a copy of your pet’s routine prescriptions in both the pet’s emergency kit bag of documents and in the PIC.
For more on preparing for emergencies for you, your family, and your pets check out my books:
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