Natural Disasters and Pets
While it isn’t possible to prevent a natural disaster from occurring, you can help provide for your pet by planning ahead and being prepared in the event of an emergency

Arrange a Safe Haven

No matter where you decide to go should you need to evacuate your home, it is essential that you take your pets with you. Unforeseen circumstances during a disaster can turn a brief evacuation into a much longer stay away from home. Remember: If it’s not safe for you to be home, it’s not safe for your pets either.

The American Red Cross doesn’t allow animals into its facilities for public health and safety reasons. So it’s important that pet owners research safe places to take their pets during an evacuation. Some hotels allow animals, and your veterinarian can provide you with information on preferred kennels or veterinary hospitals with boarding facilities.

Create a Pet Evacuation Kit

To ensure you have all the items necessary to provide proper care for your pets, it can be helpful to pack an evacuation kit in advance. The kit should include enough materials for each of your pets and should be stored in an area that is easily accessible. Consider including:

  • A waterproof container that holds your pets’ current medical records, including vaccinations; your veterinarian’s contact information; your pets’ license and microchip information; photographs of your pets (with species, breed, age, sex, color and characteristic markings listed on the back); photographs of you and your pets together (to prove ownership); and a phone number for an emergency clinic near your destination
  • A pet first-aid kit (the ASPCA has some tips regarding what to include)
  • A two-week supply of water, pet food and pet medications with dosage instructions
  • A leash, collar and harness for each pet
  • Carriers for each pet that include your contact information
  • Litterboxes, litter and scoops for cats
  • Restraints, including comfortable box muzzles for dogs and soft face-shield muzzles and restraint bags for cats
  • No-spill bowls for food and water
  • A manual can opener and spoon for canned food
  • Toys and treats 
  • Pet beds and blankets
  • Paper towels
  • A rescue whistle
  • Trash bags
  • A flashlight
  • A battery-operated radio
  • Extra batteries

Prepare Proper Identification

Always make sure your pets have clearly marked identification in case they’re separated from you. You’re more likely to be reunited if they’re wearing collars with tags. In addition, consider a microchip, which is a permanent marker, and make sure to register your current contact information with the microchip company. 

Include Family and Friends

Before a disaster strikes, work with family and friends to form a plan. Consider finding someone who can have access to your home and can care for your pets should you be unavailable. Make sure everyone involved is familiar with your evacuation plan and has pertinent information about your pets, such as medical records.

While disasters are unpredictable and stressful, planning and preparation can help your pets remain safe and healthy should one occur.

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