During a disaster, sometimes staying put is the safest place for you and your pet. Sometimes evacuation is necessary. Planning before an emergency happens can lessen the stress on you and your animals.
Get Your Pet Ready
- Prepare a portable disaster kit for your pet
- Keep your pet's vaccinations current.
- Have reliable identification on each pet: microchip or collar with integrated ID (no dangling tags).
- Familiarize your pet with your kit's carrier or cage before an emergency
- For health and safety reasons, pets are usually not allowed in shelters for people (other than service animals for the disabled). Few communities have the resources to house pets with their owners. If staying with your pet is important to you, identify a list of places you can go together, such as pet-friendly hotels or the home of a friend/relative. Some hotels will lift "no pet" policies in emergencies. Be sure to call ahead to reserve space.
- Compile a list of places where you can leave your pet with confidence, such as a kennel or friend.
- If a situation warrants evacuation, move your pet early, if possible.
Staying Behind Safely
- If you must evacuate without your animal bring your pet inside to a place you can leave it. Avoid windows. Consider easy-to-clean spaces like bathrooms or utility rooms. Keep cats and dogs separately, even if they normally get along.
- DO NOT leave pets tied outdoors.
- Leave only dry foods and fresh water in nonspill containers. If possible, leave a faucet dripping into a large container or partially fill a bathtub with water.
- Do not leave vitamin treats, which can be fatal if over-eaten.
- Start a neighborhood "buddy system" to check on one another's pets. Exchange information and file a permission slip with your veterinarian authorizing your "buddy" to get emergency treatment for your pet.
- If your pet is lost, contact local boarding shelters, kennels, humane shelters and veterinary hospitals.
Pet Disaster Kit
Here are some items you should consider adding when assembling your family's emergency supply kit.
- Food and water for at least three days
- Pet carrier or cage for each pet
- Leash or harness with collar
- Can opener
- Nonspill food, water bowls
- Towels or blankets for bedding
- Toys and treats
- Plastic bags for waste
- Cat litter and shoebox-sized litter pan
- Vaccination records.
- Current photos of each pet