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Disaster Preparation for Pets

Disaster Preparation for Pets

Personally, I don’t care much for thinking about disasters. I put together an emergency kit for my family, promptly stuffed it in the closet and quickly worked on forgetting about it. Somehow it just makes the threat feel all too real. But we should all have emergency supply kits, especially during this very active hurricane season. And not just for ourselves, but for our pets as well.

Are your pets prepared for a disaster? There are a number of actions you can undertake before a disaster strikes that will have you and your pets better prepared. Here are tips for how to ready your pet for a disaster, and what to put in a pet emergency-supply kit.

The National Hurricane Center makes these suggestions to complete prior to a disaster:
Make sure that your pets are current on their vaccinations. Pet shelters may require proof of vaccines.
Have a current photograph of your pet.
Keep a collar with identification on your pet and have a leash on hand to control your pet.
Have a properly-sized pet carrier for each animal–carriers should be large enough for the animal to stand and turn around.
Plan your evacuation strategy and don’t forget your pet!
Specialized pet shelters, animal control shelters, veterinary clinics and friends and relatives out of harm’s way are ALL potential refuges for your pet during a disaster.
If you plan to shelter your pet–work it into your evacuation route planning.

Tips for during a disaster
Animals brought to a pet shelter are required to have: Proper identification collar and rabies tag, proper identification on all belongings, a carrier or cage, a leash, an ample supply of food, water and food bowls, any necessary medications, specific care instructions and news papers or trash bags for clean-up.
Bring pets indoor well in advance of a storm–reassure them and remain calm.
Pet shelters will be filled on first come, first served basis. Call ahead and determine availability.

After a disaster
Walk pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to their home–often familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and pets could easily be confused and become lost. Also, downed power lines, reptiles brought in with high water and debris can all pose a threat for animals after a disaster.
If pets cannot be found after a disaster, contact the local animal control office to find out where lost animals can be recovered. Bring along a picture of your pet if possible.
After a disaster animals can become aggressive or defensive–monitor their behavior.

Create a pet disaster-supply kit, adapted from the United States Humane Society:
Proper identification including immunization records.
A carrier or cage.
Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container.
Collar and leash.
Pet first aid kit.
Pet first aid book.
Blankets or towels for bedding.
Food and water for at least three days for each pet, bowls, and a manual can opener.
Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in foster care.
Pet beds and toys, if you can easily take them, to reduce stress.
Other useful items include newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags, and grooming items.

Read more: Pets, Safety, , , ,

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


+ add your own
8:49AM PST on Feb 6, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

9:41AM PST on Dec 2, 2012


4:47PM PST on Nov 8, 2012

Cool photo!

11:07AM PST on Nov 8, 2012


12:44AM PST on Nov 8, 2012

all good tips to note. being prepared to go with pets is the best way to ensure the safety of everyone, without any regrets.

12:27AM PST on Nov 8, 2012

Microchip implants are essential for all pets.I also have an identification disc attached to all my fur childrens collars
Microchipping is required and is the law in most states of Australia

7:10PM PST on Nov 5, 2012

Thanks for the article.

3:03PM PST on Nov 5, 2012

great thanks.

8:22AM PST on Nov 4, 2012

Cat is micro chipped and has a crate always ready with a towel in it .Would take within a minute to get water and food , Time to GET THE CAT IN THE CRATE ? Could be one minute OR one day ..

3:29AM PDT on Nov 2, 2012

thank you.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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