Be Prepared — Have a Plan
Planning in advance of a natural disaster or weather emergency is essential for your personal safety and that of all members of your household, including your pets. Pets depend on us even more when disaster strikes. Including steps that ensure their safety and well-being before, during and after a disaster should be an important component of your emergency preparedness plan.
Contingencies to accommodate your pets’ safety, whether the disaster confines you to your home or compels your evacuation, must be considered. When disaster strikes a community, essential services like water and electricity may be temporarily interrupted. What steps can you take to prepare for and mitigate the effects of a disaster on such services? In many cases, evacuation centers will not accept evacuees’ pets. What can you do to ensure your pets’ safety during and after a disaster? CVA created this brochure using the guidelines specified by the American Humane Association.
Always display pet alert decals on doors to inform rescuers that animals reside in your home. Information listed should include the type and number of pets. Make certain to keep your pets’ vaccinations up-to-date.
Be prepared in the event essential services such as water and electricity are lost. Consider storing at least a three-day supply of water and non- perishable food for all members of the household, including pets. Keep a manual can opener handy. Determine what room in your home provides protection and safe haven from flying glass and debris and, in the event of flooding, areas that provide safe refuge from rising flood waters.
If Evacuation Becomes Necessary
Gather any relief plans developed by your local Red Cross chapter; emergency management office; or police, fire, health, wildlife and agriculture departments so you know where to turn for specific resources. Know and arrange in advance safe places your pet can go, whether it’s a friend or family member, pet-friendly hotel, animal shelter, or boarding facility. Consider consulting your veterinarian for reliable boarding facilities equipped to accept pets in such emergencies.
Have on hand portable carriers large enough for your pet to stand and turn around in. Keep copies of your pet’s vaccination records available to pack with your pet’s belongings. You may choose to place these copies in watertight food storage bags to keep them dry.
Place your contact information, including the name of an out-of-state contact, on your pet’s ID tag, microchip registration, and license.
Prepare an emergency/travel kit of leashes, collars, extra ID tags, water, food, feeding dishes, disposable litter pans, medications, health records and photos to prove ownership. Prepare a first-aid kit, including your veterinarian’s contact information and an authorization to treat your pet. Take advantage of this planning exercise to think about the future and consider designating a temporary, long-term or permanent caregiver for your pet in the event you no longer can do so.
Tips on Keeping Pets Safe in Natural Disasters
Central Veterinary Associates urges pet owners to keep their animals safe in the event a natural disaster occurs.
While it is important to make sure other family members are cared for during a natural disaster, it is equally important to ensure your pet’s health and safety. Central Veterinary Associates offers the following tips:
- Make any and all preparations before disaster strikes. Make sure it includes a plan for pets as well as family members. Find out in advance which shelters accept animals. If necessary, make advance reservations at a pet-friendly hotel or motel.
- Make sure your pet is up-to-date with vaccinations. Keep copies of your pet’s vaccination records with your pet’s belongings. Also keep any pictures or identification of your pet in a folder or sleeve where water cannot enter into it.
- Be sure your pet is wearing a collar with identification tags. The tags should have the pet’s name and your contact information.
- If you have not done so, have your pet microchipped. This makes it easier to track your pet in the event it gets lost or separated from you.
- Pack at least a five- to seven-day supply of pet food and bottled water and a two-week supply of medication with dosage instructions. Be sure to include a manual can opener in case there is no power, as well as food and water bowls.
- Be sure to include the following as well: an extra collar, leash or harness; a muzzle for dogs who may bite out of fear; a litter box, litter and a scoop (for cats); a cage carrier for smaller animals; comfort items, such as bedding, toys or pet treats; Latex gloves for handling waste; blankets or sheets to cover the cages; and a first-aid kit.