Preparing Your Pet for a Disaster

When disaster strikes, phone lines go down, public shelters become overwhelmed, and essential services are often unavailable. Some people must leave their homes for evacuation shelters. But evacuation shelters don’t accept animals. So what can you do to make sure your pet is cared for before, during, and perhaps even after a disaster?

First, if you must evacuate, don’t leave your pet behind. With a little advanced planning you can know what options are available for your pet’s care the moment a disaster strikes. Ask your family to gather the addresses and phone numbers of local hotels, friends, pet sitters, kennels and veterinary offices that would take your pet in case of an emergency.

Second, make sure your pet has current ID tags in case they get lost. Many animals are lost during disasters and are never returned to their owners again because they don't have ID tags or microchip identification. You might even consider creating another ID tag with an out-of-state contact in case you and your pet are accidentally separated during the disaster. Another important item is a photo for lost reports, posters and proof of ownership.

Make sure to keep a copy of your pet’s vaccinations in case you have to board your pet or leave the state. Also keep pet supplies, like food, water, medications, a leash, and a portable carrier on-hand too.

Don’t wait until a disaster strikes to have a disaster plan for your animals. Plan for your pet’s care now.