Nobody likes to think about a disaster but when and if it happens you need to be prepared not only for yourself and family but also for your pets. You need to plan for one of two scenarios: evacuating your home or hunkering down at home. Both take planning of different sorts.


A)  Have a safe place to take your pets

One of the most important points to make here is to take your pets. Leaving them behind is not safe.

  • Call hotels or motels outside your immediate area and ask about their policies on accepting pets during an emergency. Keep a list of these pet-friendly places, their address and phone numbers.
  • Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter your pets in an emergency.
  • Ask friends and relatives outside the area if they could shelter your Pets.
  • Call local animal shelters to see if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets in an emergency.

 B)  Assemble a portable pet disaster kit which should include:

  • All of your pets medical records and medications stored in a waterproof container.
  • A first aid kit for your pet
  • Sturdy leashes, collars and/or transport carriers for all of your pets
  • Current photos of your pets.
  • Food, bowls, litter pans and can openers
  • Written information on feeding schedules, medical problems, behavioral quirks and the names of your vet and groomers.
  • Pets toys and blankets or beds

C)  Be prepared

  • Make sure all of your pets have current i.d. tags
  • Have extra cash placed safely
  • Know which radio stations to listen too if disaster strikes
  • Have phone numbers to local police and fire stations.
  • Have a full tank of gas


A)  Plan where to keep pets

  • Move cages away from windows and objects that could fall on them
  • If confining pets make sure the room is pet-proofed so they don’t harm themselves.
  • Pets that appear calm may startle easily so be careful that they don’t escape.

B) Have a written plan

  • Make several copies so everyone knows what to do and you don’t forget anything.
  • Call ahead to your veterinarian and make sure you have enough of medications your pet is currently taking.
  • Again, make sure all pets have current i.d. tags on.

 C) Stock up on essentials

  • Have a two week supply of drinking water for your pets
  • Have a two week supply of your pet’s food
  • Have a two week supply of your pet’s medications
  • Have recent photos of all of your pets
  • Have copies of your pets medical record, and vaccinations
  • Have a two week supply of litter
  • Have extra leashes and collars for all pets
  • Have a list of important phone numbers handy

Being prepared for a disaster can make the difference between life and death for your pets. Take the time NOW to be prepared in case disaster strikes. Go over your disaster plan with all the family members and make sure everyone knows where the disaster kit is located etc. Planning ahead of time will greatly minimize an already hugely stressful situation. And remember animals will panic during highly unfamiliar situations so try to stay calm and go slow with your pets. Hopefully, you will never have to use your plan but be prepared!         

by Doc Halligan