Pets and natural disasters can be an overwhelming combination. Getting your home and family ready for evacuation is only part of the battle. Your family’s emergency escape and disaster evacuation plans should also include your pets!
Finding a pet-friendly shelter or hotel at the last minute could be close to impossible. Your pre-evacuation planning should include locating shelter that will accept your pets. During Hurricane Katrina, nearly half of those who did not evacuate stayed behind because shelters would not take their animals. Even if evacuation isn’t certain, reserve a room ahead of time because pet-friendly locations will sell out first! Shelters are best left as a last resort, even if they allow animals. Your pets (and you!) will be much less anxious staying in a hotel, a short-term rental, or with friends and family, if possible.
Pack Ahead of Time
Don’t just make lists of what you’ll need, pack it! Never wait until the last minute to pack essential and important items. Disasters hit quickly and you may only have minute to collect you things and get out. It could be days, weeks, or even months before you can get back into your home, so have go bags ready with everything you may need. Your pet emergency go bag should include: a leash, food and water bowls, a can opener, and a pet carrier. Additionally, make sure to also take your pet’s medications in their original bottles and 2-3 weeks supply of food.
Most dogs don’t enjoy loud noises, storms, or chaos in general, so be aware that you pets may be extra anxious. Keeping your pet’s favorite toy, bed, or blanket and help to keep them calm. Treats and anxiety jackets can also help to reduce your pets nervousness during a disaster and evacuation.
Pet First Aid
Keep bandages, wraps, antibiotic cream, and tweezers in your pet first aid kit. Additionally, bring proof of their vaccinations, microchip registration, your vet’s phone number, and any other important pet documents.
When They Have to “Go”
Going to the bathroom in an emergency can be a bit tricky, for everyone! During most natural disasters it’s too dangerous to let your pet outside to relive itself. Many disaster shelters also encounter space and waste issues when it comes to letting pets “go”. Cat’s are fairly easy, as long as they have litter, but there are also a couple good solutions for dogs! Either training pads or a small piece of fake grass or sod inside a kiddie pool can fix the issue.
Finding Your Pet
The worst-case scenario is your pet takes off or after during evacuation. This is why it’s so important to microchip your pet and to always make sure your contact information is up to date! Click here to learn more about microchips and pet ID tags!