Pet Sitting Business: Emergency Action Plan

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You need an emergency action plan for yourself and your dogs just as much as pet owners do.

At any moment, disaster may occur. What would you do if you were pet-sitting and had to evacuate because of a storm? What would you do if your veterinarian's clinic caught fire? Making sure you, your staff members, and your clients are prepared for an emergency is important.

An emergency action plan's guiding principles

Now is a great time to review your business's emergency plans, assuming you have any.

If you don't already have an emergency action plan, now is the time to give some thought to what that plan should include and why it's crucial to have one.

We can never predict when a natural or man-made calamity, such as a storm, flood, bushfire, or terrorist attack, will strike. Having a plan in place to deal with unexpected situations can alleviate some anxiety and help keep everyone (humans, animals, and property) safe.

Here are some of the most important things to think about when making an emergency action plan:


Having a plan for what to do in the event of an emergency is great, no doubt. But if you have employees (like at a vet clinic or grooming salon), it's crucial that they all understand their responsibilities.

Engage your team in a conversation about the tasks at hand and who among them would be most qualified to complete them. Important things to keep in mind are:

  • Who will be responsible for getting the pets to safety?
  • Is there a place to go in case of an emergency?
  • Is there a point person who gets in touch with customers to let them know if their pet is okay and where they are?
  • Has someone been designated to maintain communication with the local police?
  • Is there a quick way to see who is working at any given time?
  • Is there a person in charge of staff evacuation and making sure everyone is safe?
  • Is everyone aware of the designated meeting spot?

Pet Safety

The pets in your care will likely need to be relocated to higher ground in the event of a flood or fire. How will you transport the 20 dogs you are dog-sitting or other animals from your grooming salon?

Crates or pet carriers could come in handy for transporting your animals. Similarly, how about transportation? Should there be a set quota of workers dedicated to animal transportation?

Even if you are well-equipped and ready to carry multiple animals, you still need a destination. A close shelter and suitable housing further away may be required, depending on the nature of the disaster.

Policies and paperwork

To get clients to agree to the intended procedures, you may need to outline them in contracts. In addition, your insurance policy may require that you include temporary lodgings as additional insured locations. If a pet is hurt during transit or while staying somewhere else, what should be done? All of these things deserve serious thought.

When discussing insurance, it is important to know what is and is not covered. Does it include downtime for your company? Is it possible to reclaim the additional funds needed to ship pets? If the office building you rent from is unsafe, do you still have to pay rent?

Client information storage is something to consider when it comes to paperwork. If you keep important documents in a filing cabinet, for instance, you may find it difficult to retrieve the information you need in the event of an unexpected circumstance.

Would you lose information about your customers if there was a fire? Could you make a backup copy of sensitive customer data on a USB and store it elsewhere?

Emergency supply kit

In the event of an evacuation, it's important to have specific supplies on hand to protect people and their pets. The size and scope of your pet business will determine the extent of your emergency supplies. Some essentials to consider including are:

  • Dog leashes
  • Muzzles
  • Size-variable collars
  • Food bowls
  • Food
  • Water
  • Flashlights
  • Blankets
  • Toys and bedding for pets
  • First aid kit
  • Items used for personal hygiene and sanitation (garbage bags, soap, gloves, etc.).
  • Medication for pets

The list could really go on and on. But it's crucial to plan ahead, when you're not stressed, to consider these factors.

Make sure the emergency supplies also have a designated caretaker. This person may be responsible for performing periodic inventory counts of the kit's contents or ensuring that no items have been removed. They may also do stock rotations to check that all products are still within their expiration dates. They will also be in charge of gathering the emergency supplies.

We have no way of knowing if or when a catastrophe will occur. However, the best approach to being ready is to have an emergency action plan.

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