FIND A VETERINARIAN
Prepare Your Pets
for a Natural Disaster
to the heartbreaking stories of human tragedy in the wake of
Hurricane Katrina, there are thousands of stories of pets lost,
abandoned or otherwise left to fend for themselves. The American
Veterinary Medical Association publishes a brochure titled
Saving the Whole Family, that details what to do to save
your pets in the event of a natural disaster.
Talk to your
veterinarian if you have any questions about the items
Until It Is Too Late
It is best to
be overly cautious during a disaster warning. Preparing ahead of
time and acting quickly is the best way to keep you and your
family, including your animals, out of danger.
Set up an
appointment to talk to your veterinarian about planning for
your animals during disasters.
animal evacuation kit.
yourself with each type of disaster that your area could be
affected by, including a hazardous materials spill.
evacuation plan for all of your animals.
written directions to your home near your telephone. This
will help you tell emergency responders how to get to your
home if you are in a state of panic and in need of rescue,
or if a person unfamiliar with your area is the only person
in your home during a disaster.
alternate sources of food and water. Some local food and
water sources may be disrupted or contaminated for extended
periods of time following a disaster.
vehicles well maintained and full of gas.
emergency cash on hand.
In Case You
Are Not At Home
on your doors to notify neighbors, fire fighters, police and
other rescue personnel that
animals are on your property and where to find your evacuation
supplies. Provide a list near your evacuation supplies of the
number, type, and location of your animals, noting favorite
hiding spots, in order to save precious rescue time.
To facilitate a
successful rescue, provide muzzles, handling gloves, catchnets,
and animal restraints where rescue personnel can find them. Keep
in mind that animals may become fractious when frightened.
willing neighbor to tend to your animals in the event that a
disaster occurs when you are not at home. This person should
have a key to your home, be familiar with your animals, know
your evacuation procedures, and know where your evacuation
supplies are kept.
identification on your animals, including rabies and license
tags, will help reunite you in the event that you are separated.
Identification should provide your name, home address, a phone
you can be reached, and an out-of-state phone number of someone
that you will be in contact with during or soon after the
disaster/evacuation. If possible, include your veterinarian’s
name, location, and phone number.
Consider having your pets
permanently identified using identification transponders
(microchips) implanted under the skin by your veterinarian. Most
shelters, veterinarians and rescue organizations have the
equipment to read the information off of these microchips, and
the microchip cannot become lost or rendered illegible like a
collar and identification tag can.
Transportation and Housing
Have a leash,
collar, and/or harness for each pet. Have a collapsible cage or
airline-approved carrier for each pet, including proper bedding,
for transportation or housing purposes. Familiarize your animals
with evacuation procedures and cages/carriers. Take the
cage/carrier out several times a year and put dog or cat treats
inside with blankets and toys. By doing this, you will reinforce
positive feelings associated with the animal carrier.
purposes, cat carriers should be large enough to hold a small
litter pan and two small dishes and still allow your cat enough
room to lie down comfortably or stand to use the litter pan. Dog
kennels or collapsible cages should be large enough to hold two
nonspill bowls and still allow enough room for your dog to stand
and turn around. For added assurance, clearly label each carrier
with your identification and contact information.
Avoid transporting any pet outside
of a carrier. Even the most well-behaved and loyal pet may
become frightened during an emergency and try to run away or get
in your way while you are driving. Also, the likelihood of
serious injury in an automobile collision is much higher for
unrestrained pets than those in carriers or restraint harnesses.
Restraint harnesses should be considered for pets that are too
large to fit into a carrier. Pets not being transported in a
carrier should have a sturdy leash attached to a collar or
harness at all times.
photocopies of important veterinary documents to store in the
Important documents to include are
vaccination records, a list of any known medical conditions or
allergies that your pet has and a list of medications or a
photocopy of the drug labels for any medications that your pet
What to Do
When the Evacuation Order is Given
family, including your animals, as early as possible. By leaving
you will decrease the chance of becoming victims of the
dogs, cats, and other small animals indoors.
all animals have collars and some form of identification
small pets, including cats and small dogs, inside individual
transportable carriers. When stressed, animals that normally
get along may become aggressive towards each other.
leashes on all large dogs.
larger animal cages/carriers into your vehicle. These will
serve as temporary housing for your animals if needed.
animal evacuation kit and supplies into your vehicle.
prearranged animal evacuation site to confirm availability
your equine/livestock evacuation plan.
with your animals–ASAP!
area inside and outside your home to identify sharp objects,
dangerous materials, dangerous wildlife, contaminated water,
downed power lines, or other hazards.
scents and landmarks may have changed, and this can confuse
cats, dogs, and other small animals indoors only. They could
encounter dangerous wildlife and debris if they are allowed
outside unsupervised and unrestrained.
birds and reptiles only if necessary and only when they are
calm and in an enclosed room.
food in small servings, gradually working up to full
portions if animals have been without food for a prolonged
period of time.
uninterrupted rest/sleep for all animals to recover from the
trauma and stress.
check animal control and animal shelters DAILY for lost
animal notices and notify local veterinarians and your
neighbors of any lost animals (visit
for lost and found animals).
information on how to prepare including detailed checklists,
Saving the Whole Family from the American Veterinary Medical
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