The thing about emergencies is that you never know the moment when one will arise.
You may feel like a pet evacuation plan is something you and your family don't need - until the moment you actually need it and you are not prepared.
Over 500,000 pets were killed or displaced during 2005’s Hurricane Katrina and over 10,000 animals were injured or displaced in California’s Woolsey and Hill fires in 2018.
With those numbers in mind, it’s easy to see why a pet evacuation plan is so important. If you have an evacuation plan for you and your pets in place you won’t be left scrambling and panicked if disaster strikes.
Fortunately, developing a pet evacuation plan is quite simple. Keep reading and we’ll show you how.
In order to properly prepare for an evacuation, you need to know which types of disasters you’re likely to face.
Is your area known for earthquakes, wildfires, flooding, tornados, hurricanes? Make a list of the potential threats that could call for an evacuation.
Once you know the threats, research the recommended evacuation routes for your local community. This will help you determine where to seek shelter as you evacuate.
There’s always a chance that you will become separated from your pet during an evacuation, so it’s important to make sure he can be identified as yours.
Check to ensure that your pet’s microchip and tags are updated with your best contact information every few months.
Make sure your pet wears proper identification tags on their collars. Even just wearing a collar will help strangers recognize that your pet has an owner who is looking for him.
Identification tags and microchips with your updated phone number will help your pet find his way back to you more easily if you become separated.
Keep in mind that your home phone number may be out of service in the event of an emergency. Is there a cell phone number or an out of town relative that would be more reliable?
Store recent photos of your pet in a DropBox folder or Google Drive. This way, in the event that your pet goes missing you’ll be able to create flyers and share their images on social media.
In a perfect world, you have a nearby friend or relative to stay with safely outside of a disaster zone. Since we don’t live in a perfect world, it’s always good to have a backup plan.
Research some nearby hotels that accept pets and write their contact information in a notebook that you will store in your emergency kit.
Next, make a list of nearby animal shelters. Often during natural disasters, shelters will open their doors to pets in need of refuge. However, since these facilities are usually very crowded, it’s best not to rely on them if you can avoid it.
Veterinarians, doggy daycare facilities and boarding kennels will also often lend a hand to pets needing shelter during natural disasters. Write down and save the contact information for any of these businesses that lie along your evacuation route.
An emergency kit should contain all of the essential items that your pet will need in the event of an evacuation. Following are some suggestions of what to include:
- Food for 2 or 3 days
- Water for 2 or 3 days
- Any essential medications
- Collar and leash
- A carrier (if your pet needs one)
- Litter or poop bags
- A list of pet-friendly accommodations
- List of emergency contact numbers and addresses
- Copies of your pet’s medical records
If you and your pet need to evacuate in a hurry, this emergency kit will come in handy. You won’t have to think about anything other than finding a safe place to shelter.
Make sure you replace the perishable items (food and medications) in your emergency kit every so often. The last thing you need is for your pet to suffer from food poisoning during an evacuation.
It’s natural to be hesitant to evacuate your home, but when you have pets it’s wise to evacuate early.
If you wait until you’re forced to evacuate it could be difficult to find somewhere safe for both you and your pet. In order to make things easier on both of you, evacuate early and secure a safe place to shelter.
In the unlikely event that you aren’t home when evacuation is required, make sure someone you trust has a key to your house. This way they’ll be able to collect your pet and ensure his safety until you can get to him or her.
We sincerely hope that you and your pet are never affected by any type of disaster. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know when these events will occur, which is why it’s so important to plan ahead.