With the recent natural disaster of Hurricane Harvey this is a perfect time to think about what would happen to you and your pets in the event of an emergency. What constitutes an emergency depends on where you live. For us in Illinois, tornados are a very real possibility. For you, it may be hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. But no matter what the cause, we all need to take a few steps to be sure that we safeguard our families, and that includes our beloved pets.
5 Animal Disaster Preparedness Essentials
Make sure your pets are protected when disaster strikes. Download our 5 Animal Disaster Preparedness Essentials checklist (PDF):
Get more details on emergency planning for specific types of disasters:
Planning ahead is the key to keeping yourself and your pets safe if disaster strikes. Follow these tips to make an emergency plan for your pets:
1. Microchip your pets
Microchip identification is one of the best ways to ensure that you and your pet are reunited if you are separated. Be sure to keep the microchip registration up-to-date, and include at least one emergency number of a friend or relative who resides out of your immediate area.
2. Keep a collar and tag on all cats and dogs
Keep several current phone numbers on your animal’s identification tag. Identification on indoor-only cats is especially important. If your home is damaged during a disaster, they could easily escape.
3. Plan a pet-friendly place to stay
Search in advance for out-of-area pet-friendly hotels or boarding facilities, or make a housing exchange agreement with an out-of-area friend or relative. Never leave your pet behind if you evacuate!
Search for pet-friendly accommodations at:
Pet Friendly Hotels (United States)
PetsWelcome.com (United States)
4. Use the buddy system
Exchange pet information, evacuation plans and house keys with a few trusted neighbors or nearby friends. If you’re caught outside evacuation lines when an evacuation order is issued, your neighbors or friends can evacuate your pets for you.
5. Prepare an emergency kit for each animal
Stock up on the items you may need during a disaster now so you do not get caught unprepared. Below are basic items you should include in your pets' disaster kits. Store your disaster kit supplies in an easy-to-grab container.
One-week supply of food. Store it in a water-tight container and rotate it every three months to keep it fresh. If you use canned food, include a spare can opener.
One-week supply of fresh water. If officials declare your household water unfit to drink, it’s also unsafe for your pets. Follow American Red Cross guidelines for storing emergency water for your family and your pets.
Medication. If your animal takes medication, a replacement supply may not be easily available following a disaster.
Copies of vaccination records
Photographs of you with your pets to prove ownership
Photographs of your pets in case you need to make "lost pet" fliers
Pet first aid kit
Temporary ID tags. If you've evacuated, use this to record your temporary contact information and/or the phone number of an unaffected friend or relative.
Carrier or leash for each animal. Caregivers of multiple cats or other small animals can use an EvacSak, which is easy to store and use for transport.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE READY.GOV BROCHURE