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Disaster Preparation for Pets

Make plans for your pets in case of disaster.

We don't like to think about emergencies like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and fires, but it pays to plan ahead so that your pets, along with the rest of your family, will be safe and cared for if you must evacuate your home. While there are many shelters for humans, most don't take pets, so planning ahead may make a huge difference in the long-term health and safety of your animals.

The Red Cross offers many resources for pet owners that want help preparing for disasters. They suggest these tips to help you find a safe place to evacuate with your pets:
  • Local and state health and safety regulations do not permit the Red Cross to allow pets in disaster shelters. (Service animals are allowed in Red Cross shelters.)
  • Contact hotels and motels outside your local area to check their policies on accepting pets and restrictions on number, size and species. Ask if "no pet" policies can be waived in an emergency. Keep a list of "pet friendly" places, including phone numbers, with your disaster supplies.
  • Ask friends, relatives or others outside the affected area whether they could shelter your animals.
  • Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter animals in an emergency; include 24-hour phone numbers.
  • Ask local animal shelters if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets during a disaster.
A portable crate makes evacuating with pets easier.

The Red Cross also suggests making a pet emergency preparedness kit in "sturdy containers that can be easily accessed and carried (a duffle bag or covered trash containers, for example). What should be in your kit?
  • Medications and medical records (stored in a waterproof container) and a First Aid kit.
  • Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and/or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that your animals can't escape.
  • Current photos of your pets in case they get lost.
  • Food, drinkable water, bowls, cat litter/pan, and manual can opener.
  • Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets.
  • Pet bed or toys if easily transportable.
The Red Cross also offers a Pets and Disaster Safety Checklist

April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month. Take a few moments to make sure you are ready in case of an emergency!

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