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Snowed In! Being Prepared For An Emergency

Now that most or all of Ontario has seen some snowfall this winter, it is time to think about the Big One. Most of us have experienced them before, those times when the world seems to shut down and everyone is forced to stay indoors. The Big One is that major snowstorm that brings everything to a halt and it’s almost always hard to tell if “this is it” until you’re already stuck.

Disaster and emergency preparedness is something that every household should consider.

Obviously this applies not only in the winter but also during other seasons as well, but in Southern Ontario our individual odds are much higher that we’ll be struck by a massive blizzard than we are a tornado or hurricane. The winter months often see power-outages due to wind or ice and undrivable conditions. These are a part of the Canadian experience but you don’t have to be caught short. If the Great Ice Storm of 1998 is any indication, you can never be too prepared.

  • Always keep several days worth of food on hand and don’t run out completely, 3-7 days worth should do. Canned pet food keeps longer and can come in handy during extended emergencies.
  • Have on-hand up to a week’s worth of your pet’s medications in case you cannot leave your house to get more.
  • Keep your pet indoors during winter storms. Pets can lose their way easily during a crisis.
  • Have blankets on hand for your pets, providing them with extra warmth if heating is lost.
  • Keep enough candles, flashlights or lanterns ready for potential extended power-outages.
  • Some emergencies may require you to evacuate your home. It can be handy to have prepared a Pet First Aid Kit, ask your veterinarian what should be included for your particular pet.
  • All pets should wear collars and ID tags that are up-to-date. Consider having your pet microchipped as a permanent form of identification.
  • Ensure that you have a pet travelling bag, crate or carrier for each pet.
  • Prepare an evacuation kit containing a weeks worth of all supplies your pet may need, including food, litter, disposable litter pans (roasting pans work well), disinfectant, pet waste bags, feeding dishes, copies of medical records, medications, bottled water, blanket, recent photos of your pets in case of separation, leashes and toys.

If you need help with your emergency preparedness or have questions, contact your veterinarian for more information. If caught unprepared, you and your pet may not weather the storm as readily as you might expect.