Emergency Planning: Keeping Pets Safe From Harm
You may have seen images on TV showing dramatic
rescues of family pets - pets that were stuck or
left behind when floods, fire, tornados, hurricanes,
or other disasters hit the area.
Evacuation orders are issued for the safety of the
area residents, and families with pets are faced with
the additional responsibility of ensuring the safety
of their animal companions. Early preparation is
important in helping to ensure the safety of your
pets. Here are a few things to consider in an
- Always take your pets with you. Pets left behind
may be injured, lost, or may even die from starvation,
exposure, predators, or accidents. Do not assume that
you can later return for your pet, because "later" may
be too late; you never know how long you'll have to
stay out of the area.
- Leave early - do not wait for a mandatory
evacuation order or you may be told to leave your pets
- Be sure your pet always wears proper identification
such as a collar with tags, tattoo, and microchip. You
may also want to consider signing up with a national pet
- Keep your pet's documentation
organized and in an easy-to-access place. Know where
it is so that you can quickly grab it on your way out the
- Keep dogs on leash and cats in carriers to prevent
them from bolting in panic or confusion. When you hear
of a possible evacuation order, bring your pets into
the house immediately so that you can leave quickly
with them if required.
- Pack a kit for your pets. Include food and water for
at least several days, medications, leashes or harnesses,
carriers, bedding, toys, and a pet first aid kit.
- Make arrangements with a trusted neighbor or friend
just in case you're not home. This person should be
comfortable with your pets and vice versa. Arrange for
them to retrieve your pets and meet you at a specified
- Find a safe place to stay ahead of time. Ask friends,
family, and veterinary clinics outside of your immediate
area if they would be willing to house your pets in case
of an emergency. Make a list of pet-friendly accommodations
in surrounding communities and ask them about their pet
policies. As soon as you think you will be evacuating,
call ahead to make arrangements.
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