In the post 9/11 era, we are becoming more aware of the importance of emergency preparedness for ourselves and our pets. If a disaster should occur, and you need to evacuate, you must take your pet with you in order to secure their safety. Most shelters do not accept pets, so a safe location such as a veterinarian’s office, or home of a friend or family member should be designated in advance. A boarding kennel is another possible alternative for your pet in an emergency. You could prepare a list of boarding kennels and visit them ahead of time and become comfortable. It is also a good idea to keep a current picture of you and your pet in case you get separated. Make sure your pet is wearing an I.D. tag, and all information is up to date. A secondary contact number should appear on your pet’s I.D. in case your home is destroyed. Another important item to have is an emergency evacuation kit for your pets. This kit should include: a three day food supply of food and water; vaccination records; proof of ownership; a carrier for smaller animals labeled with your contact information; an extra leash and collar; medication and any other item your pet may need. This kit should be kept in an easily accessible location. In the event a disaster occurs and you cannot get home to rescue your pet, designate at least two people who can be emergency caretakers and go to your home to retrieve your pet. An emergency caretaker should be prepared to make any necessary arrangements, including taking care of them until you are reunited. Also, the caretaker should know the location of the emergency kit.
If you have to evacuate without your pet, and there is no other option, barricade your pet in a safe room with a three-day supply of food and water. Give your pet access to a bathroom with dripping water and no stopper in place. Try not to leave a dog in this situation for long because they will suffer if they cannot go outside to relieve themselves. Never leave a pet tied up outside when you evacuate.
Condensed from The Scoop, Fall 1992 and www.mchumane.org