Make Sure your Pet is Safe and Not Left Behind
It’s blizzard season now, soon it will be tornado season, and then hurricane season, and then fire season … if you are like millions of animal owners nationwide, your pet is an important member of your household and it is important to be prepared for the unexpected situation.
The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency such as a fire or flood, tornado or terrorist attack depends largely on emergency planning done today. Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system, are the same for any emergency. Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. Keep in mind that what’s best for you is typically what’s best for your animals.
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.
If you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets; consider loved ones or friends outside of your immediate area who would be willing to host you and your pets in an emergency.
Make a back-up emergency plan in case you can’t care for your animals yourself. Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has devoted an entire section on its Ready site towards tailoring a plan for animals and pets. Here, you will find guidelines on planning for pet needs during a disaster, guidelines for larger animals, and where to go for more information.
You are also able to download FEMA’s free brochure on Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies. The information in the brochure was developed in consultation with the American Kennel Club (AKC), The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and the Humane Society of the United States.