Animal Safety Pets and Disaster: Be Prepared

The number of ways in which our pets improve the quality of our lives cannot be tallied. They, in turn, are reliant on us for both their protection and their well-being. The following are some ways that you can be prepared to safeguard your animals in the event of an emergency.

Be Prepared with a Disaster Plan

Having a disaster plan in place is the most effective approach to shield your loved ones from the aftereffects of an emergency. If you own pets, then your animals need to be accounted for in this strategy. They may avoid certain death by being well-prepared.

Different disasters necessitate different reactions. You might be required to leave your house, regardless of whether the calamity in question is a storm or a toxic spill.

In the case of an emergency in which you are required to evacuate, the single most critical thing you can do to ensure the safety of your animals is to take them with you. If you leave your pets behind, even if you make an effort to provide a secure location for them, there is a good chance that they will become hurt, lost, or even killed. Therefore, begin making preparations right away for the day when it is possible that you and your pets will be had to vacate your home.

1. Have a Safe Place To Take Your Pets

Pets are not permitted inside Red Cross disaster shelters due to stringent health and safety restrictions imposed by individual jurisdictions as well as other factors. Only animals working as service animals, providing assistance to individuals with impairments, are permitted inside Red Cross shelters. In the midst of a crisis, it will likely be difficult, if not impossible, to find sanctuary for your animals; thus, you should make preparations in advance. Do not put off doing research till after a catastrophe has already occurred.

  • Get in touch with hotels and motels located outside of your surrounding area to inquire about their policy about the acceptance of pets and any limits regarding the quantity, size, or kind of animals. In the event of an unexpected emergency, you should inquire whether “no pet” regulations can be disregarded. Together with the other information and materials you have, maintain a list of locations that are “pet friendly,” complete with phone numbers. In the event that you are aware of an approaching calamity, it is best to phone ahead and make reservations.
  • Ask others who live outside the impacted area, such as friends, relatives, or other acquaintances, whether they could provide sanctuary for your animals. If you have more than one pet, keeping them together in the same space may make them feel more at ease, but you should still be prepared to house them in separate areas.
  • Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians that are able to provide shelter for animals in the event of an emergency; include phone numbers that are available around the clock.
  • In the event of a disaster, you should inquire with the local animal shelters to see whether they offer temporary housing or foster care for pets. Because animal shelters may already be stretched enough trying to care for the animals in their care in addition to those displaced by a disaster, turning to them should be your very last option.

2. Assemble a Portable Pet Disaster Supplies Kit

You will need to bring vital materials with you if you are going to be away from home for a day or a week. Place objects in a location where they can be quickly accessed, and keep them in containers that are both robust and easily portable (duffle bags, covered trash containers, etc.). Your pet’s disaster supplies kit ought to have the following in it:

  • A first aid kit, as well as any medications or medical records that need to be kept (stored in a watertight container).
  • Leashes, harnesses, and/or carriers made of sturdy material to transport pets in a secure manner and to ensure that the animals cannot run away.
  • Keep up-to-date photographs of your animals in case they become separated from you.
  • Food, drinkable water, bowls, a cat litter pan or box, and a can opener are all necessities.
  • In the event that you have to foster or board your pets, you will need information on feeding regimens, medical concerns, and behavioral issues, as well as the name and number of your own personal veterinarian.
  • Bedding and playthings for the animal, provided they are moveable.

3. Know What To Do As a Disaster Approaches

  • Warnings are frequently sent in advance, sometimes as much as several days. Act as soon as there is even the slightest indication that something bad might happen to your pet.
  • Make sure you call beforehand to confirm that there is space for both you and your dogs in the emergency shelter.
  • Make sure that all of the emergency supplies for your pets are packed away and ready to go at a moment’s notice.
  • Bring all of the animals back into the house so that you won’t have to waste time looking for them in the event that you need to leave in a hurry.
  • Be certain that every dog and cat has a collar on with current identification and that the collar is properly attached and secured. If you know the phone number and address of your temporary shelter, or if you have a friend or relative who is located outside the affected region, provide that information in the attachment. You can either buy temporary tags or adhere adhesive tape to the back of the ID tag that comes with your pet and write the new information on it with an erasable pen.

It’s possible that you won’t be at home when the order to evacuate is given. Investigate the possibility of asking a reliable neighbor if they would be willing to look after your animals and meet you at a predetermined spot. This individual should feel at ease among your animals, be aware of the likely locations of your pets, be aware of the location of your emergency supplies kit for your pets, and have a key to your home. Discuss the possibilities with the pet-sitting service you hire well in advance if you want to increase the likelihood that they will be able to assist you.

Through careful planning and preparation, you will be able to escape quickly and in complete safety with your pets. However, keep in mind that different animals will react in various ways to the same stressful situation. Keep your dog safely contained at all times, both inside and outside the house, by using a harness and leash. Transport cats in carriers. Never leave animals unsupervised in a location from which they could escape. Even the most reliable pets have the potential to become frightened, hide, attempt to flee, or even bite or scratch. Also, when you get back to your house, make sure to give your dogs some time to readjust to their normal routines. If the behavioral issues continue, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Caring for Birds in an Emergency

When transporting birds, you should use a travel cage or carrier that is secure. Before placing the birds inside the car during chilly weather, first warm up the vehicle and then cover the carrier with a blanket. Carry a plant mister with you during the warmer months so that you can regularly spritz the feathers of the birds. During the time that you are transporting the item, water should not be placed inside. Give each guest a few slices of fresh fruit and vegetables that have a high percentage of water. Have a photo of yourself ready to use for identification, as well as leg bands. In the event that the transport device does not come with a perch, you should line it with paper towels and frequently replace them. Make every effort to maintain the carrier in a calm setting. Do not open the door or otherwise allow the birds to escape the cage or carrier.

About Other Pets


Pillowcases are a suitable mode of transport for reptiles, but once they reach their destination, the reptiles will need to be housed in a more safe environment. Carry food with you at all times if your snakes need to be fed on a regular basis. Bring a heating pad and a bowl of water that is sufficiently sized for soaking purposes. When transporting house lizards, you should proceed in the same manner as you would with birds.

Pocket Pets

Transporting small mammals (such as hamsters, gerbils, and the like) should be done in safe containers that are equipped to keep the animals healthy while they are housed. Bring along some items for sleeping, such as bowls for food and water bottles.

A Final Word

In the event that you are required to evacuate, your pets should not be left behind. If they are unable to stay with you throughout the evacuation period, they must be taken to a secure location that has been agreed. (it is important to keep in mind that pets are not permitted at Red Cross shelters.) If there is a potential that a disaster may occur while you are away from the house, there are safety measures that you can take to improve the odds of survival for your pets. However, these measures are not a suitable replacement for evacuating with your pets. Contact the Humane Society of the United States’ Disaster Services at 2100 L Street NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20037 for any more information you may require.

The American Red Cross has acknowledged, in a statement of understanding, that the Humane Society of the United States is the largest animal protection organization in the country and that it is responsible for the protection and well-being of animals in all aspects of animal welfare, including disaster relief. The mission of the American Red Cross is to translate the compassion and concern of the American people into effective, expedient aid wherever it is needed.

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