How to Prepare Your Pets for Emergencies

Dec 05 , 2019

How to Prepare Your Pets for Emergencies

Hurricane season is upon us, and as of right now, hurricane Dorian is barreling towards the southeast coastline.  You know what to do to keep you and your family safe, but what about your pets?  Here are a few guidelines to prepare your pets in case of an emergency—hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfire, etc.

First and foremost you should take your pets with you and have a disaster plan in place—NEVER leave your pets behind.  Contact hotels/motels outside your immediate area to find out if they accept pets.  Ask about any restrictions on number, size, or species.  Inquire if a “no pet” policy would be waived in an emergency.  Keep a list of animal-friendly places handy and call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to leave your home.  The longer you wait, the less likely there will be vacancies at nearby locations.

Consider a kennel or veterinarian’s office outside of the affected area.  Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinary offices that might be able to shelter animals in disasters and emergencies.  Make sure you have their 24-hour telephone number.

Check with your local animal shelter for post-disaster help.  Some shelters may be able to provide foster care or shelter for pets in the aftermath of emergency situations.  But keep in mind that shelters have limited resources and are likely to be stretched during a local emergency.  Make sure all your pets are current on their vaccines and have copies of those records handy as some shelters may require this before taking the animals.

Why do people leave their pets behind?  Leaving a beloved pet behind when evacuating for a disaster is not a choice anyone would ever want to have to make, but unfortunately sometimes this happens.  Available transportation, shelter, and financial restrictions can lead to an inability to take a beloved animal when evacuating.  A fire, flashflood, or tornado can happen when no one is home and safety restrictions prevent people from returning to collect their pets.

Where can owners find their pets if they were separated during evacuation or rescue efforts?  Contact the animal control agency in the area you last saw your pet.  If you want to help in the rescue and recovery efforts, contact shelters outside of the impacted areas and let them know you are available to help.


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