Emergency Preparedness for Pets

When creating a disaster plan for your family - don't forget your pets. While you are away from home, confining your pet to a specific room in the house can aid rescuers in the event of a structure fire or other disaster. Place emergency stickers with the number and location of your pets in prominent places near doors and windows. Close interior doors to keep fire from spreading. If you change the location of the pets, remember to change the information on the emergency stickers.

A Pet Friendly Disaster Kit

You can put together a basic disaster kit for your pets to have ready in the event that you have to button up, or leave your residence in a hurry. Recommended items would include:

  • A PLAN! Will you keep your pet with you, or leave them with family or at a shelter? Make a list of local motels, boarding facilities, and phone numbers of people who could take care of your pet in case of emergency. Consider making a pre-made handout for your pet, with a photo, contact details, and other vital information, in case you get separated.
  • An airline-approved carrier for each dog or cat, or other pets, with ID, photo, vaccination records, registrations, special needs list, sufficient medicines, and a muzzle/leash attached. Make sure your pet is familiar with the carrier, so that you don’t struggle with getting them into it should disaster strike.
  • An extra supply of pet food (for dogs a lower protein dog formula will produce less stool, a benefit when cooped up indoors).
  • First Aid kit.
  • Plenty of clean water.
  • Bowls (disposable containers if you must leave your residence), can opener, kitchen trash bags, bleach (disinfectant and water purification), blankets, towels, paper towels, and other waste disposal supplies.

Following a Disaster

After a tornado, hurricane, or other natural disaster, take care with your pets. When you venture out, avoid downed power lines. Keep your pet on a leash to limit its exposure to debris, hazardous materials, other animals, and contaminated foods. To protect your animals, avoid leaving spoiled goods outside and tape your refrigerator shut until trash pickup resumes. Be understanding and patient with your pet in the wake of a disaster. Your pet may take days or weeks to recover from the stress and trauma of surviving a natural disaster -- just like a person.

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