Are You and Your Pets Prepared for a Disaster

Jun 9, 2011

Now, more than ever, it’s important for us to include pets in our emergency plans.

Many of us have pets whom we consider to be members of the family – but how many of us are actually prepared to keep them safe during an unexpected disaster? 

Animals are often displaced or abandoned during earthquakes, hurricanes and tornados. Many suffer terribly from injuries, or endure hunger and dehydration. But, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Watch this animated public service announcement from WSPA, and read more below, to learn what you can do to protect your pets ahead of an emergency.

Before an emergency:

  • Vaccinations: Keep your dogs and cats up-to-date with their vaccinations – this is perhaps the most important preventive action you can take for your pet. 
  • Identification: Always keep a collar, with an identification plate, on your pet. Make sure it includes your contact details and any of your pet’s special needs.
  • Shelter: Identify potential shelters or foster homes where you can take your pets in an emergency. Discuss this plan with your friends and neighbors.
  • Pet History: In a sealed plastic bag, keep a copy of your pet’s veterinary medical record, photographs and any of his or her special needs.
  • Hazards: Identify and remove any heavy objects in your home or outside that could fall or harm pets.
  • Emergency Kit: Prepare an emergency kit for your pet:
     o A cage for transport
     o Food and water (for five days)
     o Medical items, such as iodine, hydrogen peroxide, gauze for cleansing wounds and antibiotic ointments
     o A list of emergency contacts, including your vet, a local shelter and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

During an emergency:

  • Stay Informed: In an emergency, gather your family, pets and emergency kit, and follow the instructions given by your local emergency management officials (via TV, radio and/or the Internet). 

  • Leave a Safe Haven: If you must evacuate without your pets, make sure they have a safe haven with food and water, clear of hazardous objects. Put a note in the window of your home and call your emergency contacts.

As pet owners, please take these small but necessary steps to ensure your pets’ safety during a disaster – a little bit of planning can go a long way to protecting your loved ones!

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