Emergency & Disaster Pet Safety Preparedness

29 May

This week is both Hurricane Preparedness Week and National Pet Month – what better combination than preparing pet owners to be prepared in the case of an emergency? Pets can become distressed, run away or get lost in the shuffle of stressful disaster situations; having a plan for your furry family members can help avoid any extra strife.

Nervous Pets

Bring pets inside at the first sign or warning of a storm. Pets can become scared or disoriented and wander or run away, and nervous pets can also chew or hurt themselves or others so it is important to keep them in a place where they can be supervised but also feel safe.

Pet Identification Tags & Microchips

Pets should always wear collars and tags with updated identification information, including the pet’s name, the owner’s name, contact info and any urgent medical needs. This information should also be included on pet carriers and on pet paperwork. Pets should also be microchipped if possible; these tiny chips can be read by a scanner at most animal shelter and are the most reliable and permanent form of identification. Make sure to update the microchip contact information every time you move or change phone numbers.

Pet Rescue Alerts

A rescue alert sticker on your door lets people know that pets are in your home, which can help rescue workers to assist in an emergency situation. If you evacuate with your pets and can remember, write EVACUATED across the stickers when you leave. The stickers should also include, if possible, the type and number of pets and a vet phone number. The ASPCA offers a free Pet Safety Pack that includes a pet rescue window decal.

Pet-Friendly Shelters

Your evacuation plan should include a safe place for your pets. Not all disaster or emergency shelters accept pets, so it is important to plan early to identify local shelters, hotels or kennels and to discover their restrictions for breeds, sizes, species or quantities. BringFido or DogFriendly can be good resources to find pet-friendly shelter locations.

Supplies & Travel Kits

Pack and be ready! Having a travel kit at the ready can help to make evacuation or relocation easier and can ensure that important items are easily on hand.

  • Pet first aid kit (ask a vet what to include, or check out the ASPCA store)
  • Multiple days worth of food with feeding dishes and at least 7 days worth of bottled water
  • Can opener, if necessary
  • Disposable litter trays and litter
  • Extra collars, harnesses, leashes
  • Photocopies of medical records and at least a two-week supply of any medications (remember, food and medicine should be rotated out of the kit so they don’t go bad)
  • Pet information packet, including: recent photos of pets, descriptive features (age, sex, colors, weight), microchip number, owner contact info, relative/friend contact info, boarding info (feeding schedule, medications, allergies, behavior problems)
  • Disposable garbage bags and disinfectant
  • Carrier or crate, ideally one for each pet, with beds or toys if easily transportable

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