Disaster Preparedness for Pets

Emergencies come in many forms. Whether you are impacted by a fire, tornado, hurricane or flood, evacuations often come without a lot of warning. While we may have a response plan in place for the human family members, it’s important to also include our pets. Here are simple tips to help ensure your pets are protected:

Pet Identification

Make sure that your pet is wearing a collar with updated identification tags. A tag should include your pet’s name, the owner’s name, address and phone number. Another way to keep track of your pet is to have them microchipped. Only 22 percent of lost dogs that enter an animal shelter are reunited with their families. However, the return-to-owner rate for microchipped dogs is over 52 percent. When you microchip your pet you are increasing your chances of being reunited.

Put Together a Disaster Kit

Keep an emergency kit accessible. This can include:

  • Three to seven days’ worth of pet food (be sure to rotate every two months)
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Liquid dish soap or disinfectant
  • Disposable garbage bags
  • Pet food and water bowls
  • A two week supply of any medicine your pet requires
  • Seven days’ worth of bottled water
  • Travel crate or carrier
  • Blanket
  • Especially for cats: Pillowcase, toys, scoopable litter and a disposable litter tray
  • Especially for dogs: Extra leash, chew toys and a week’s worth of cage liners

After the disaster

Your home may look drastically different after a disaster. Don’t allow your pets to roam loose. Pets can easily become disoriented and get lost. Before taking your pet outside make sure to inspect your yard for trash, broken powerlines, damaged objects and wildlife which may have taken refuge in your yard during the storm.

After returning home try to get pets back on their normal schedule as quickly as possible. Be patient with your cat or dog as the stress of evacuation may cause behavioral problems. To help aid in their transition, keep a calm demeanor, speak in a soothing voice and surround them with familiar objects, such as toys and blankets.

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