For many of us, our pets are a part of the family. They enrich our lives in so many ways. But they depend on us for their safety, especially during a disaster. Unfortunately, due to public health concerns, pets cannot be allowed in public shelters should there be a need for you to evacuate your home. Leaving your pets at home and unattended is not a good option either. If you must evacuate, you should evacuate your pets too. So having a pet disaster plan is a very important part of your overall home disaster plan. Here are some key points of a sound plan to help your pets manage during times of disaster:
Before The Disaster
Make sure your pets are current on all their vaccinations. Most facilities that accept pets will require proof that their shots are up-to-date.
Keep a collar with identification on your pet at all times.
Have a leash for every pet.
Keep a current photograph on hand of every pet.
Have a pet carrier of the proper size for each pet.
Make sure your identification information is on all your pet carriers, leashes, etc.
Plan for the evacuation of your pets. Think of friends, relatives, and kennels in more than one location that may be able to take your pets in an emergency. Work these locations into your evacuation route planning.
During The Disaster
Be prepared to show proper identification, rabies tags, etc. at the pet shelter for each animal.
Bring ample pet food, bottled water, food bowls, special care instructions, and any pet medications with you. Continue to feed your pet the foods it is used to. Also bring news papers or trash bags for clean-up.
Call ahead to make sure there will be room at the shelter for your pet.
After The Disaster
Walk pets frequently on a leash. The unfamiliar scents and landmarks can disorient your pet and it could get lost if let off its leash. In addition, after a disaster there may be unusual hazards that could pose significant risk to a free roaming pet; such as downed power lines.
Monitor your pet’s behavior. Some animals can become aggressive or defensive after a disaster.
If you can not locate your pet after a disaster, contact animal control. Come by to see what animals have been recovered. If possible, bring a photograph of your pet.
ADVANCED PLANNING MAY SAVE YOUR PET’S LIFE!