The best way to protect your family from the effects of a disaster is to have a disaster plan in place. If you are a pet owner, that plan has to include your pets.
If you must evacuate, make sure you find a safe shelter for your pets. If it's not safe for you, it's not safe for them either. Pets left behind can become injured, lost or ill. They can become a danger to themselves as well as others. Prepare now for the day that you and your pets may have to leave your home.
Don't forget your pet when preparing a family disaster plan. Assemble a portable pet disaster supply kit.
Keep items in an accessable place and store them in sturdy containers that can be easily carried. Your pet disaster supply kit should include:
- Medications, immunization records and a firt aid kit.
- Sturdy leashes, muzzles, harnesses, carriers or sages to transport pets safely. Carriers should be large enough for the pet to stand comfortably, turn around and lie down. Include blankets or towels for bedding and warmth.
- 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
Many public shelters cannot accept pets because of health and safety regulations and other considerations. The only animals allowed in some shelters are service animals that assist people with disabilities. Research your sheltering options before a disaster strikes. Work with your local emergency management and humane organizations to develop sheltering alternatives for people with pets.
- Contact 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 facilites and veterinarians who could shelter animals in an emergency.
KNOW WHAT TO DO AS A DISASTER APPROACHES
- Call ahead to confirm emergency shelter arrangements for you and your pets.
- Check to be sure your pet disaster supply kit is ready to take.
- Bring all pets into the hosue so you won't have to hunt for them.
- Make sure all dogs and cats are wearing collars and up to date ID tags.
IF YOU SHELTER IN PLACE
- Identify a safe area in your house where you can all stay together, including your pets.
- Keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers. Be sure they are wearing ID tags.
- Have medications and a supply of pet food and water inside watertight containers.
IN CASE YOU ARE NOT HOME WHEN DISASTER STRIKES
Make arrangements in advance for a trusted neighbor to take your pets and meet you at a predetermined location. Make sure tha the person is comfortable with the pets, knows where they are likely to be, knows where your disaster supply kits are and has a key to your house.
AFTER A DISASTER
Walk pets on a elash until they become re-oriented to their home and surroundings. Downed power lines, displaced reptiles and other dangers can all pose a threat for animals. If pets cannot be found after a disaster, contact the local animal control officerto find out where lost animals can be reclaimed. bring along a picture of your pet if possible.