Animal Safety Plan: Preparing Pets For Evacuation
The best way to protect your family from the effects of a disaster
is to have a disaster plan. If you are a pet owner, that plan
must include your pets. Being prepared can save their lives.
If you must evacuate, make sure you find a safe shelter for
your pets. Pets left behind can become injured, lost or ill.
So, prepare now for the day when you and your pets may have
to leave your home. (This list was modified from the Humane
Society of the United States in cooperation with the American
Before the Disaster
Don't forget your pet when preparing a family disaster
plan. Assemble a portable pet disaster supplies kit. Keep items in an accessible place and store them in sturdy
containers that can be easily carried. Your pet disaster supplies
kit should include:
- Medications, immunization records and a first aid kit.
- Sturdy leashes, muzzles, harnesses, carriers or cages
to transport pets safely.
- Current photos of your pets in case they get lost.
- Food, drinking water, bowls, cat litter/pan and can opener.
- Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions,
behavior problems and the name and number of your veterinarian.
- Pet beds and toys, if easily transportable.
Have a Safe Place To Take Your Pets
Disaster shelters cannot accept pets because of health and
safety regulations and other considerations. The only animals
allowed in shelters are service animals that assist people
with disabilities. Research your sheltering options before
a disaster strikes.
- Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area
to check policies on accepting pets.
- Ask friends, relatives or others outside your area whether
they could shelter your animals in an emergency.
- Prepare a list of animal shelters, boarding facilities
and veterinarians who could shelter animals in an emergency.
During the Disaster
- Call ahead to confirm emergency shelter arrangements for
you and your pets.
- Check to be sure your pet disaster supplies are ready
to take at a moment's notice.
- Bring all pets into the house so you won't have to search
for them if you have to leave in a hurry.
- Make sure all dogs and cats are wearing collars and up-to-date
After the Disaster
- Walk pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to
their home - often familiar scents and landmarks may be
altered and pets could easily be confused and become lost.
Also, downed power lines, reptiles brought in with high
water and debris can all pose a threat for animals after
- If pets cannot be found after a disaster, contact the
local animal control office to find out where lost animals
can be reclaimed. Bring along a picture of your pet if possible.
- After a disaster, animals can become aggressive or defensive
- monitor their behavior.
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