Different disasters require different responses. But whether the disaster is a hurricane or a hazardous spill, you may have to evacuate your home. In the event of a disaster, if you must evacuate, the most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to evacuate them too. If it's not safe for you to stay behind then it's not safe to leave pets behind either. Take action now so you know how to best care for your furry friends when the unexpected occurs.
Find a Safe Place That Can Shelter Your Pets
Many emergency shelters do not allow animals. Plan in advance of an emergency for accommodations for your pets.
- Contact hotels and motels outside your local area to check their policies on accepting pets and restrictions on number, size and species. Ask if "no pet" policies can be waived in an emergency. Keep a list of "pet friendly" places, including phone numbers, with your disaster supplies.
- Ask friends, relatives or others outside the affected area whether they could shelter your animals.
- Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter animals in an emergency; include 24-hour phone numbers.
- Ask local animal shelters if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets during a disaster.
Make a Go Bag for Your Pet
In the event of an emergency, make sure you have all of the supplies your pet will need in an easy to carry container, like a backpack, duffle bag or covered plastic bin. Your pet Go Bag should include:
- Medications and medical records (stored in a waterproof container) and a first aid kit.
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses and/or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that your animals can't escape.
- Current photos of your pets in case they get lost.
- Food, drinkable water, bowls, cat litter/pan and a manual can opener.
- Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets.
- Pet bed or toys, if easily transportable.
Help Emergency Workers Help Your Pets
The ASPCA recommends using a rescue sticker placed on a prominent surface on the outside of your home to let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers and that it includes the types and number of pets in your household and your veterinarian's phone number.
If you must evacuate with your pets (and if time allows) write "EVACUATED" across the stickers so rescue workers don’t waste time looking for them.