EMA: Pets and Disasters
Course of Action for Dog and Cat Owners
Your pet is an important member of your household. Planning for your pets' safety and well being can save their lives.
Before a disaster prepare a portable Pet Disaster Supplies Kit. Whether you are away from home for a day or longer you'll need essential supplies. Keep items in an accessible place and store them in sturdy containers that can be carried easily (duffle bags, covered trash containers, etc.). Your Pet Disaster Supplies Kit should include:
- Portable carrier or cage large enough for the pet to stand up and turn around in.
- Collar with a current license tag, rabies tag and identification tag. Consider permanent identification of your pet with a national registry using a microchip implant.
- Veterinary records with up-to-date vaccinations and medical information.
- Sturdy leash or harness.
- Newspaper, litter, trash bags for waste.
- Two-week supply of food and water and can opener.
- Photos of your pets in case they get lost.
In the event you and your family need to evacuate to a public shelter, your pet will not be allowed inside the shelter due to public health and safety reasons. Planning and preparation will enable you to evacuate with your pets quickly and safely. For the care and shelter of your pet:
- Partner with neighbors, friends and relatives to take care of your pets or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.
- Check on boarding kennels.
- Contact veterinary hospitals with boarding facilities.
- Find motels/hotels where you can stay that will allow pets.
Keep in mind that animals react differently under stress. Outside your home and in the car, keep dogs securely on a leach. Transport cats in carriers. Don't leave animals unattended anywhere they can run off. The most well-behaved pets may panic, hide, try to escape, or even bite or scratch. When you return home, give your pets time to settle back into their routines. Consult your veterinarian if any behavior problems persist.
After a Disaster
Before letting your pet outdoors, check the area for downed power lines, debris that could cause harm, other wild animals now in the area. Keep your pets on a leash when they go outside, especially immediately following a disaster. Familiar scents and landmarks may have become altered due to the disaster and your pet may become confused and lost.
If your pet is lost contact:
- Veterinary hospitals.
- Boarding kennels.
- Animal control.
- Local humane societies.
If you find a pet contact:
- Local humane societies.