Emergency Preparations for Pets

Emergency Preparations for Pets

We must also remember to take care of our pets.

Families must seriously consider emergency preparations for pets as Red Cross disaster shelters cannot accept pets because of health and safety regulations and other considerations. Service animals are the only animals allowed in Red Cross shelters. It may be difficult to find shelter for your animals in the midst of a disaster, so plan ahead to create an emergency kit for each of your pets. This kit should include:

  • Identification collar, rabies, and vaccination tags.
  • Crate, cage, or other pet carrier.
  • Harness or leash.
  • Any medications and be sure to check expiration dates.
  • Sanitation (pet litter and litter box, newspapers, paper towels).
  • Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, and behavioral problems.
  • The name and number of your veterinarian and veterinary records. Most animal shelters do not allow pets without proof of vaccination.
  • Food (three day supply in an airtight, waterproof container) and a manual can opener if needed.
  • Water (three day supply in addition to water for yourself and your family).
  • A picture of you and your pet together.
  • Favorite toys, treats, or bedding.

If you must evacuate, take your pets with you if possible. However, if you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets.

Contact your veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding kennels and facilities.

  • Ask your local animal shelter if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets.
  • Identify hotels or motels outside of your immediate area that accept pets.
  • Ask friends and relatives outside of your immediate area if they would be willing to take in your pet.

Make a back-up emergency plan in case you cannot care for your animal(s) yourself. Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends, and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.

Pets should never be left behind. If you have tried all options and have no other choice but to leave your pet at home, place your pet in a safe area inside your home with plenty of water and food. Never leave pets chained outside. A note should be placed outside of your home listing what pets are inside, where they are located, and phone numbers where you can be reached.

Owners of large animals, such as horses or cattle, should prepare an Animal Safety Plan according to specific needs. Talk to your veterinarian or animal handler, and check online resources for more information.

American Veterinary Medical Association:  www.avma.org

Humane Society of the United States:  www.hsus.org


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