Include Pets in a Disaster Plan

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Making sure your pet’s needs are  prepared for in case a disaster strikes is as important as insuring your family’s safety and preparedness. If the area is not safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pet, either.

Your pet needs to wear a collar with identification at all times. Write your cell phone number on their ID tag so it will be easy to contact you if they get lost or separated from you.

You never know when a disaster will occur, and searching around at the last minute wastes valuable time. You may want to consider getting your pets micro-chipped, which will increase the likelihood you will be reunited.

Keep an emergency disaster kit for your pet right along side your families kit. Use a waterproof container to hold enough food, water and medications for 5 days. The Humane Society of the United States has a basic pet disaster check list.

Not all emergency shelters allow you to bring your pets. Call your local emergency-management office to get at list of any shelters that allow pets during a disaster. I found out during an emergency that some hotels that normally do not allow pets will sometimes make an exception.

That is not something you can count on though, so it is better to search out any pet-friendly hotels that will let your particular animal stay in your room with you in advance.

You can ask your kennel or vet if they have any provisions to shelter pets in an emergency. Have a friend or relative who lives out of your immediate area on your list of people who can help care for your animal if needed.

If you decide to wait it out and shelter at home, make sure to have complete control of your pet at all times. You don’t want to have to chase them down in case of a forced evacuation. Block up any spaces a scared animal might try to hide in.

If you have to leave home, after returning you’ll need to keep a close eye on your pet. They could become disoriented because familiar landmarks and smells may be gone.


Return to their regular routine as soon as possible. They may have some behavior problems due to their stress and yours. Talk to your vet if this lasts more than a few days.

Taking only a few moments to prepare can help make going through a disaster a little easier and safer for both you and your pets.

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