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Pets Need Disaster Plans, Too! Part 2

This blog is Part 2 of a 2-part series. You can read Part 1 here.

A disaster strikes! What can you do with your pets? Where do you take them? What do you bring?

Where Can I Take Them?
As we all saw during Hurricane Katrina, as pet owners, we can’t always be sure that our pets will be able to go where we’re going, or that shelters for humans will allow pets admittance. Can your pets go to your veterinary hospital, the nearest animal shelter, or a boarding facility? Maybe. Keep in mind, however, that in larger disasters, these places might be closed, also affected, or full with all the other pets in the same situation.

Start with a list of pet-friendly hotels in your area. Make a list of all other potential places (vet hospital, animal shelter, boarding facility.) The best option for you and your pet may be to ask a few close-by friends or family members if they’re willing to house your pet in a time of need. Trying to find a safe place for your pet is much easier and less stressful if done in advance, so  make contact before the emergency arises.

ID Your pets!
In a sudden catastrophe, thousands of pets may be affected. Having identification on your pet may be the single most important step you can take to ensure you’ll be reunited with a lost pet. Identification can be as simple as a collar and current tags on each pet, or you can have them microchipped. When your pet is microchipped, a small chip (the size of a grain of rice) is injected between the pet’s shoulder blades. Each chip has a specific code that can be read with a scanner and is linked to your information. If your lost pet is scanned and has a microchip, the finder will be able to locate you. Remember, if your pet is microchipped and any of your contact information changes, you need to contact the microchip company to have it updated.

Create an Emergency Kit
Here is a short list of things you will need for each of your pets during an emergency.

  • Leash and collar
  • Litter pan and litter for cats
  • Food dishes
  • Food:  dry food kept in air/water tight containers, or sealed pop-top canned food. (enough for several days to a week)
  • Bottled water (enough for several days to a week)
  • Copies of medical records and approximately 2 weeks of medications in a waterproof container
  • Blankets
  • Recent photographs, in case you are separated from your pet
  • Comfort items (favorite blankets, beds, or toys)

Get a Sticker

Get a pet rescue alert sticker and list all of the pets in your house. If you are in a situation where you need to evacuate and are able to take your pets along, be sure to clearly write “EVACUATED” across the sticker. Stickers can be found at most pet stores, at the ASPCA website, and often with your family veterinarian.

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