How To Keep Your Pets Safe During A Disaster

First and most importantly: do not leave your pets behind in the event of an evacuation! Pets that are left behind can escape or become trapped and injured. Remember, if it isn’t safe for humans, it isn’t safe for pets!

We are currently giving away “rescue-alert stickers” at the clinic; these should be placed in an area easily visible to rescue workers (for example, on or near your front door) and list the types and number of pets that reside in the home, as well as the name and phone number of your veterinarian. In the event that you evacuate your home and take your pets with you, write “EVACUATED” across the sticker.

Make sure each of your pets has a fitted collar with an ID tag showing the name of the pet and your phone number. We recommend microchipping your pet as a more permanent form of identification. Microchips are small devices implanted under the skin and can be scanned and read at most animal shelters and veterinary hospitals making it easier to reunite with your pet in the event you become separated.

Every household should have an “Evac-Pack” readily available in your home and all members of the family should know where it is located. Items to include are: a pet first-aid kit, seven days of dry or canned pet food and bottled water, liquid dish soap and disinfectant, disposable garbage bags, feeding dishes and water bowls, extra collars and leashes, photocopies of medical records, a two week supply of any medication your pet requires, a carrier for each pet, disposable litter trays and litter, paper toweling, toys, and blankets. It is also a good idea to have a list of boarding facilities and pet-friendly hotels available should you need to be away from home for an extended period of time.

You should also be prepared for a situation where there is not enough time to evacuate and you CANNOT leave your home for an extended period of time. Always have at least seven to ten days of pet food, water, and any medications required on hand at all times.

After a traumatic experience, our pets may show signs of post-traumatic stress even after their lives go back to normal. Watch them closely to see if there are any behavioral changes and consult your veterinarian if you notice anything concerning. Animals whose environment was altered should be kept on a leash when taken outside as they may become more easily disoriented or confused.

We ask that you take this month to re-evaluate your household’s evacuation plan and update as needed. Know your evacuation routes and include your pets while practicing them. You can never be too prepared!