Disasters happen and often, there is no time to adequately prepare. Please begin exploring all your options before you have a reason to leave your home with your cat and dog to ensure the best outcome possible. Here are a few helpful tips.
- ID your Pet: You’ll increase your chances of being reunited with your cat or dog by having both a tag on them and microchip in them. Remember, the average person who finds your pet cannot read a microchip, but they will be able to read a basic tag. Put your cell phone number on your pet’s tag. It may be a good idea to include the phone number of a friend or relative outside of your immediate area in case you would have to evacuate.
- Assemble an emergency kit for all of your pets: Have packed and ready a waterproof kit: Pet food, water, medications, crate, first aid supplies and copies of vaccines.
- If it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pet: In the case of evacuation, you have no way of knowing how long you’ll be kept out of the area and you may not be able, or allowed, to go back for your pets. Pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Remember to make plans for all your pets.
- If you stay home, do it safely: If your family and pets must wait out a storm or other disaster at home, identify a safe area of your home where you can all stay together.
- Find a safe place to stay ahead of time: Contact hotels and motels outside of your immediate area. Find out if they accept pets. Ask about any restrictions on number, size, and species. Ask if a “no pet’ policy would be waived in the case of an emergency. Keep a list of animal-friendly places handy and call ahead for reservations as soon as you think you might have to leave your home.
- Plan for your pet in case you’re not home: In case you’re away during a disaster or evacuation order, make arrangements well in advance for someone you trust to take your pets and meet you at a specified location. Be sure the person is comfortable with your pets and your pets are familiar with them. Give your emergency caretaker a key to your home and show them where your pets are likely to be (especially if they hide when they’re nervous) and where your disaster supplies are kept. If you have a pet-sitter, they may be able to help. Discuss the possibility well in advance.
Credit: American Red Cross