Pets and Disaster: Be Prepared
Weíve all witnessed the devastating effects of natural disasters: fires and earthquakes at home, hurricanes and floods in other parts of the country. Natural and manmade disasters are a fact of life and one that many of us struggle to prepare for.
Each individual pet owner should be prepared to take care of themselves, their families and their animals for the first 72 hours following an incident. By taking some simple steps now, pet owners can make a significant difference in ensuring their own personal health and safety as well as that of their companion animals should a disaster strike.
The Humane Society of the United States recommends adding pet supplies to your familyís disaster kit. Stock up on non-perishables well ahead of time, add perishable items at the last minute, and have everything accessible, stored in sturdy containers (duffel bags, covered trash containers, etc.) that can be easily carried. Include the following items in your kit:
- Medications and medical
records stored in a waterproof
container and a first aid kit.
safely and to ensure
pets can't escape.
- Current photos and descriptions
of your pets.
- Food and water for at least
three days for each pet, bowls,
cat litter and litter box, and a
manual can opener.
- Information on feeding
schedules, medical conditions,
behavior problems, and the
name and number of your veterinarian.
- Pet beds and toys, if you
can easily take them, to reduce
- Newspapers, paper towels,
plastic trash bags, grooming
items, and household bleach.
Check your petís identification
tags. Update any outdated
tags with current phone numbers
and add an out-of-area
contact to your petís tag.
When disaster strikes, know what to do. Designate an area in your home where your family
and pets can safely gather. The noise and confusion during a disaster can be frightening
for pets. Keep your dogs on leashes and cats in carrier to keep them out of harmís way.
Bring your disaster kit into the area of your home you choose to stay in.
When asked to evacuate, take your pets with you. Once evacuated, you will not be allowed to return for your pet. It may be days or weeks before you are able to reenter the area. Confine your pets ahead of time, so you can quickly find them. Arrange with friends or neighbors to take your pets and meet you elsewhere if you are not home.
Prepare ahead of time to secure lodging for you and your pet in case human shelters cannot accommodate your pet. Contact hotels and motels about their pet policies. Ask friends and relatives if they would shelter your pet during a disaster. Make a list of boarding facilities outside of your area. Once youíve located pet friendly lodgings and resources, keep the addresses and phone numbers with your disaster kit.