The best way to protect your pets from the effects of a disaster is to have a plan in place. If you must evacuate your home, the most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to take them with you.
Have a safe place to take your pets
Many emergency shelters or hotels do not admit pets, so it is important to find places ahead of time that do.
Search in advance for both local and out-of-area pet-friendly hotels. Also check out boarding facilities, or make a housing exchange agreement with an out-of-area friend or relative.
Pet-friendly accommodations can be found on the Internet by entering the phrase into a search engine.
Microchip your pets
Be sure that you update your microchip registration when you move, change phone numbers, get a new emergency contact or change veterinary clinics.
Keep an ID tag on your pets' collars.
Start a buddy system
Exchange keys and disaster plans with someone who can evacuate your animals if you are away from home when disaster strikes.
Give your buddy your pets' medical information and your emergency contact information.
Take photos of you with your pets
Photos can prove ownership if you are separated from your pets.
Keep copies of the photos in your wallet and your disaster kit (see below).
Laminate or put your photos in a protective plastic sleeve along with your pets' information.
Give copies to a relative or friend who lives outside of your area.
Assemble a disaster kit
Following are the supplies that you should have in a disaster kit for pets.
Food: Have a two-week supply of the food your pets normally eat. If they eat canned food, buy cans small enough for one feeding, as refrigeration may not be available for leftover food. Include a can opener, as well as a spoon and a feeding dish. Store food in airtight, waterproof containers and rotate every three months to prevent spoilage.
Water: Have a two-week supply of water in plastic containers that have been stored in a cool, dark location. Rotate water every two months. Pack an extra water container.
Dogs: Include a pooper scooper and/or disposable bags.
Cats: Include a small litter box with a two-week supply of litter, as well as a scoop and disposable bags.
Small mammals: Include fresh bedding materials.
Cleaning supplies: Include a small container of soap for washing dishes, along with paper towels for drying.
Crates or collapsible wire cages: Be sure that the crates/cages are large enough for your pets to lie down comfortably and have enough room for food, water dishes and litter boxes.
Medications: If your pet is on long-term medication, always have on hand at least a two-week supply. Check with your veterinary clinic to see if it has a disaster plan. If not, find a veterinarian in your area who does have a plan to provide services during a disaster, so that you can get medical care if your pets are sick or injured.
First-aid kit: Check with your veterinarian to find out what should be included in your pet first-aid kit. Some suggested items include:
First-aid book for dogs, cats or small mammals
Conforming bandages (3" x 5")
Absorbent gauze pads (4" x 4")
Absorbent gauze roll (3"x 1 yard)
Tweezers and scissors
Instant cold pack
Latex disposable gloves (several pairs)
Properly fitted or adjustable muzzle
To learn more about the Dumb Friends League, visit www.ddfl.org.