Pet owners should include provisions for their pet in a household disaster plan. Please note that pets are not allowed in shelters (only service animals are allowed in shelters). Therefore, it is important that you have a plan for your pet in the case of an evacuation.
Pet emergency planning tips:
- Contact friends or relatives outside your area to see if they would be willing to accommodate you and your pets in an emergency. Also, ask a neighbor, friend, or family member if they will look after your pet if you cannot return home due to a disaster.
- See if your veterinarian or groomer provides shelter for animals during an emergency.
- Transport your pets in a carrier for the duration of the disaster. This makes pets feel safer and more secure.
- Know your pets' hiding places so that you can easily find them in times of stress.
- Make sure each pet has a license and ID tag.
Assemble a "Pet Survival Kit" that can be ready to go if you are evacuating your pet to a kennel or to friends or family. You should include:
- Water, food, and containers.
- A leash/muzzle/harness.
- A copy of all current vaccination and health records, license numbers, and microchip numbers.
- Medication for your pet (if needed).
- A pet carrier or cage (a luggage carrier can be used to wheel the carrier around).
If you cannot travel, must stay indoors, or in the event of inclement weather, the following tips may be helpful:
- As noted above, a "Pet Survival Kit" may be useful. In winter, it is especially important to have pet food, litter, supply of fresh drinking water, warm bedding, and any medications that your pet regularly takes.
- Some pets are just not made to stay outdoors. Dogs and cats are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia, just like humans.
- Limit the time your pet spends outside and provide shelter and insulation from harsh weather if they must spend short periods of time outdoors. Remember that as the temperature drops, the risk of serious danger to your pet increases.
- Your pet cannot get enough fresh water to drink from licking ice and snow. Supply fresh water for them to drink outdoors.
- If you walk your dog, wash/wipe their paws after you come in to remove chemical de-icers and salt that might irritate their foot pads. They may chew and lick their feet, causing further irritation (or an expensive vet visit!)