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Disaster Preparedness for Pet Owners

Disaster Preparedness for Pet Owners
May 11, 2024

Pets are important members of the family, so how can you be prepared to keep them safe and cared for in the event of a natural disaster? Use these tips to help you get started. It’s easier than you might think!

Stay prepared with regular checkups and updated ID tags.

  • Scheduling regular exams for your pets will ensure their vaccines are up to date and that you have the necessary records on hand should you have to evacuate during an emergency.
  • Get your pets microchipped and make sure they’re wearing tags with current information (including a phone number!). Pet collar tags are helpful, but microchipping is one of the most important things you can do to ensure you and your pet have a happy reunion in case you ever get separated. 

Make a plan for your pet during an emergency.

  • If you stay home to weather a storm, do it safely. Identify a safe place in your home where you and your pets can stay together. Bring emergency supplies into your safe zone, including your pet’s crate, food, water, leash, and maybe even a toy or two. Remember to always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster!
  • If you have to evacuate, do not leave your pets behind! Create a list of pet-friendly hotels, public shelters, friends/family, pet boarding facilities, and veterinary offices outside of your immediate area, making sure to include their phone numbers.   

Know how to comfort your pet.

During an emergency, your pet might be just as frightened as you are. Comforting  your pet will help keep them calm (and it will help you, too!) If your pet is not ready to be consoled, don’t force it. Let your pet come to you when he or she is ready.

Assemble an emergency kit.

We recommend assembling a pet emergency kit in addition to a family emergency kit. Be sure to store it near the main exit of your home or in your vehicle for easy access. If you already have an emergency kit, it might be time to check for anything that may be expired or outdated.  

  • Store the following items in a container and tape a checklist of the contents to the lid: 
    • Food and Water
      • Store a minimum of 7-14 days’ worth of supply of water, pop-top canned or air-tight sealed dry food, and bowls
  • Medicine
    • Include 2-weeks’ worth of medication in a child/pet-proof container with clear labeling (name and dose)
  • First Aid Supplies
    • Collar (with ID Tags), Leash, and Harness
    • Traveling Bag, Crate, or Carrier
      • Label these items with your preferred animal hospital and owner information
    • Grooming Items
    • Sanitation Materials
      • Litter, litter box, poop bags, pooper scooper
  • Copy of Medical Records + Microchip Information
  • Familiar Items
    • Toy, blanket, or bed
  • A Picture of You & Your Pet
    • In case you need to make “Lost Pet” posters

Download and print ASPCA’s checklist here.

Share your plan.

Once you have created a plan for your pets, share it! Consider giving a key to your home to a trusted neighbor or friend who can serve as a backup caretaker to your pet if weather or circumstances leave you unable to put your plan into action. 

Stay Informed.

If a disaster hits, stay up to date on current conditions to know when it’s safe to stop sheltering in place or head back to your home. Ready.gov suggests the ways to stay informed below:

  • Pay attention to wireless emergency alerts for local alerts and warnings sent by state and local public safety officials.
  • Listen to local officials when told to evacuate or shelter in place.
  • Download the FEMA App and get weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations anywhere in the United States.

No one ever wants to prepare for an emergency, but putting a little time and effort into making a disaster plan is something you won’t regret. We’re here to help your pet stay safe and healthy in any situation, so please reach out with your questions!

Ready to book an appointment? Call (919) 847-1972 today to schedule your routine wellness exam for your pet.