Disasters can often strike without warning so proper preparation is always a must. In addition to making the necessary preparations for you and your family, you must also consider what to do with your pet(s). Making arrangements for your beloved furry friends ahead of time will save you the hassle and heartache of determining how and where to care for them if you must evacuate in an emergency.
Before A Disaster Strikes:
- Ask friends and relatives living outside of your immediate area if they would look after your pet if you must evacuate your home.
- Put together a pet-specific disaster supply kit (store it near their carriers so you can quickly grab and go), and include the following items:
- Leashes or harnesses
- Food and water bowls
- Extra food and water in plastic containers, labeled with feeding instructions
- Litter box and scooper (for cats)
- Pet medication and instructions for administration
- Name, address and telephone number of your veterinarian
- Photos of your animals with you for identification purposes
- Contact information for a relative living out of the area
- Grooming supplies
- A toy to keep them oppupied and reduce stress
- Generate a list of veterinary care facilities located outside of your immediate area in case your pet needs medical attention.
- Contact hotels outside of your immediate area to learn about their policies concerning animals on the premises. Generate a list of pet-friendly places and keep this information with your emergency supply kit.
When Disaster Strikes:
- Bring your pets indoors and get them under control. Place them on a leash or in a carrier immediately so that you can evacuate or seek shelter without having to worry about them acting out.
- Make sure that your pet is wearing a collar with a current rabies vaccination tag and ID tag. The ID tag should include your name, address and telephone number.
- If you can stay at home in the emergency, go to a safe area and stay together. Keep your animals in their carriers with you.
Establishing a thorough plan for caring for your pets before a disaster strikes is key. If you do not prepare ahead of time, you may have to resort to a public shelter in which animals are generally not allowed. Consequently, you may have to leave your pets at home to fend for themselves. This puts them at risk of starvation, being attacked by predators, drinking contaminated water or being hit by a vehicle. Take similar considerations for your pet that you would for family members and plan ahead!