Disaster Planning for Your Pets
When disasters strike, pets matter.
- A Red Cross survey showed that about 65 percent of pet owners had no plan ready to keep their pets safe during an emergency.
- Many people will risk their own lives by staying in the direct path of a hurricane or other disaster because they won't abandon their pets.
- By planning ahead for the care and safety of pets, you can also help save the life of you and your family members.
- Locate a safe place where you can board your pet should you need to evacuate. Many public disaster shelters don't allow pets, so making plans in advance to shelter your pet is vital.
- Make arrangements with a friend or family member outside of your area to take your pet in for a short time. Make sure they have plenty of information in advance on caring for your animal.
- Contact hotels and motels outside your area to check their policies on accepting pets. Even if they don't normally accept pets, ask to see if their policy might change during a disaster.
- Prepare a list in advance of animal shelters, boarding facilities and veterinarians that could shelter animals in an emergency.
Prepare your pet.
- Be sure that your pet's vaccinations are all up to date. Pets without vaccinations may not be admitted to shelters or boarding places in an emergency.
- Make sure that your pet has an up-to-date identification tag. It's easy to become separated from your pet in an emergency, and an ID tag may be the only way to get your pet back to you.
Make a disaster kit with your pets in mind.
- Your family disaster kit should contain the name and number of your pet's veterinarian, your pet's medications, and immunization records.
- Include a sturdy leash, muzzle, and carrier or cage to transport your pet safely.
- Your pet needs to drink and eat, too: be sure to include food, drinking water, bowls and cat litter with your regular disaster kit.
- Include a couple of familiar items for your pet, such as favorite toys.
Take quick action when emergencies threaten.
- As soon as the possibility of evacuation appears, start preparing. Call ahead to confirm emergency shelter arrangements for you and your pets. Make sure that your disaster readiness kit is at hand.
- Bring all of your pets into the house so you won't have to search for them if you leave in a hurry.
- Evacuate as soon as the order is given. Don't wait until the last minute!
- If disaster strikes, good planning means that the safety of your pets will be one less thing on your mind.