Keeping pets safe in a disaster

Plan ahead. Think of your pets! They need you.

Okay, no one wants to think about leaving their home and making a run for it if there’s an emergency. But it’s important to plan ahead, to know what you would do and where you would go. It gets more complicated if you have a fluffy buddy who needs to come with you. Whether you’re a cat lover or a dog person, your pets need you. And that requires thinking ahead and a little creativity on your part.

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Preparation for pets…

  • Get a list of vets. If your four-legged friend needs some medical care, you’ll need to know what vet to go to. Put together a list of vets outside your area that would be accessible if you had to leave.
  • Ask family and friends to care for your pet. Ask friends and family outside your immediate area if they would be prepared to take care of your buddy if you had to hightail it out of town (assuming you won’t also be crashing on their couch.) Make sure they’re cool with your bringing your pet.
  • Have a list of pet-friendly hotels. If you need to bunk at a hotel for a bit, it needs to be pet-friendly so that you can bring your fuzzy friend. If you don’t have a plan, you might have to go to a public shelter, and you might not be able to bring your pet.
  • Add pet stuff to your disaster kit. Your home disaster kit should include pet supplies – food, water, medication, leashes and harnesses (if you have dogs)

If you’re at home…

  • Get your pets inside. Try to keep them calm. A lot of animals don’t like storms, so do your best to get them settled and as relaxed as possible.
  • Have your pet wear a collar. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar, preferably with the tag that says they’ve gotten their rabies shot. And also with their ID tag…that’s important.
  • Stay safe. If you’re hunkering down at home during a bad storm, stay in a safe place in the house, and take your pets to a safe place, too.
  • Use your disaster kit. If you need to, get your pet supplies from your disaster kit.
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It’s important to know what to do with your pet if there’s a disaster. Preparation is everything, and having a plan will make everything less stressful on you and your pet – cat, dog, bunny, chinchilla, whatever.

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