After the tornados in Oklahoma and the start of wildfires & floods in Colorado, pet owners are realizing that being prepared for an emergency includes more than just thinking about themselves and their kids… their fur babies also need to be taken into consideration.
Disaster Preparation for your Pets
1. Microchip your pets and make sure your microchip registration is up to date!
It normally costs about $25 and is well worth it for your peace of mind. I thought since my rescue dog was microchipped that everything was ready.. I was wrong! I needed to register the number that the rescue organization had given me and provide them with my name, address, email and a couple of alternate phone numbers. You can register with PetLink.net
2. Keep a collar and tag on all cats and dogs even those that normally stay indoors as during a natural disaster they will most likely find a way to get out.
3. Plan a pet-friendly place to stay
Search in advance for out-of-area pet-friendly hotels or boarding facilities, or make a housing exchange agreement with an out-of-area friend or relative. Never leave your pet behind if you evacuate!
4. Have a support team
Exchange pet information, evacuation plans and house keys with a few trusted neighbors or nearby friends or family. If you’re caught outside evacuation lines when an evacuation order is issued, your neighbors or friends can evacuate your pets for you. This is also where having the emergency decal on the front door or window comes in handy.
5. Prepare an emergency kit for each animal
Just like for humans you should have a weeks worth of supplies ready to go for your pets if for some reason you need to vacate your home. This is the American Red Cross plan for your pets
Keep your pet’s essential supplies in sturdy containers that can be easily accessed and carried (a duffle bag or covered trash containers, for example). Your pet emergency preparedness kit should include:
- Medications and medical records (stored in a waterproof container) and a First Aid kit.
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and/or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that your animals can’t escape.
- Current photos of your pets in case they get lost.
- Food, drinkable water, bowls, cat litter/pan, and manual can opener.
- Barb Likos at Simply Preparing recommends you have 1 gallon of water per person per day so depending on how large your pets are you need to add their needs to your families needs.
- Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets.
- Pet bed or toys if easily transportable.
6. Identify emergency veterinary facilities outside of your immediate area
If a disaster has affected your community, emergency veterinary facilities may be closed. Pets may become injured or ill during the disaster, so make sure you know how to access other emergency facilities. You can also check with your veterinarian to find out if they have an emergency plan that includes setting up in an alternate, emergency facility.
7. Place an emergency decal on your front window or door
The ASPCA recommends using a rescue sticker alert to let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers, and that it includes the types and number of pets in your household and your veterinarian’s phone number.
If you must evacuate with your pets (and if time allows) write “EVACUATED” across the stickers so rescue workers don’t waste time looking for them.
This is an example of an emergency window decal by Red Rover
You can Order an emergency window decal online.
8. Comfort your animals
Your animals will appreciate your calm presence and soft, comforting voice if they are stressed following a disaster or while evacuated, and you may find it comforting to spend time with them, too. Make sure to bring something they are used to especially their bedding if at all possible. Familiar smells will help them calm down.
9. Know where to search for lost animals
Ready Colorado has this video with even more tips.
Red Rover had some great emergency preparedness tips for your pets that we wanted to share with our readers.
Pet-friendly accommodations resources:
- DogWonderful.com –
- PetTravelCenter.com (United States and Canada)
- Pet Friendly Hotels (United States)
- PetsWelcome.com (United States)
- DoginMySuitcase.com (International)
- PetTravel.com (International)
- PetsWelcome.com (Canada)
Get more details on emergency planning for specific types of disasters:
If you have any other tips please share them with our readers in the comments below.