Disaster Readiness Hints - Disaster Planning for You AND Your Pets

Red CrossThe Humane Society of the United States offers Disaster Planning Tips for Pets, Livestock and Wildlife. Whether it's a large-scale natural catastrophe or an unforeseen emergency that causes you to leave your home temporarily, everyone's family can benefit from having a household evacuation plan in place before disaster strikes. Every disaster plan must include your pets!

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) offers the following tips to pet owners designing an emergency safety plan:

+ If you evacuate your home, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND! Pets most likely cannot survive on their own; and if by some remote chance they do, you may not be able to find them when you return.

+ For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets. Find out which motels and hotels in your area allow pets -- well in advance of needing them. Include your local animal shelter's number in your list of emergency numbers -- they might be able to provide information concerning pets during a disaster.

+ Make sure identification tags are up to date and securely fastened to your pet's collar. If possible, attach the address and/or phone number of your evacuation site. If your pet gets lost, his tag is his ticket home. Make sure you have a current photo of your pet for identification purposes.

+ Make sure you have a secure pet carrier, leash or harness for your pet so that if he panics, he can't escape.

+ Take pet food, bottled water, medications, veterinary records, cat litter/pan, can opener, food dishes, first aid kit and other supplies with you in case they're not available later. While the sun is still shining, consider packing a "pet survival" kit, which could be easily deployed if disaster hits.

+ If you are unable to return to your home right away, you may need to board your pet. Most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters will need your pet's medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current. Include copies in your "pet survival" kit along with a photo of your pet.

+ If it is impossible to take your pet with you to temporary shelter, contact friends, family, veterinarians, or boarding kennels to arrange for care. Make sure medical and feeding information, food, medicine and other supplies accompany your pet to his foster home. NOTE: Some animal shelters will provide temporary foster care for owned pets in times of disaster, but this should be considered only as a last resort.

+ If you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home, there are some precautions you must take, but remember that leaving your pet at home alone can place your animal in great danger! Confine your pet to a safe area inside -- NEVER leave your pet chained outside! Place a notice outside in a visible area, advising what pets are in the house and where they are located. Provide a phone number where you or a contact can be reached as well as the name and number of your vet.

Visit the American Red Cross website for more information.


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