When making or updating your Family Disaster Plan and Kit, don’t forget to plan for your pets!
Step 1: Make a Plan
Remember, during a disaster what’s good for you is good for your pet. Get them ready today!
If you leave your pets behind, they may be lost, injured, or worse. Never leave a pet chained outdoors.
Plan options include:
- Identify pet friendly shelters and pet friendly hotels.
- Locate boarding facilities and veterinarians near your evacuation shelter.
- Have your pet microchipped and make sure your contact information on the registration is up-to-date.
- Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are current. Most boarding kennels, veterinarians and pet friendly shelters will need your pet’s medical records and require up-to-date vaccines.
- Stay tuned to media reports for word on evacuations.
Step 2: Know Where to Evacuate
Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND. Remember, if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. They may become trapped or escape and be exposed to numerous life-threatening hazards.
Note that not all shelters accept pets, so it is imperative that you have determined where you will bring your pets ahead of time:
- Contact your veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding kennels and facilities.
- Ask your local animal shelter if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets.
- Identify hotels or motels outside of your immediate area that accept pets.
- Ask friends and relatives outside your immediate area if they would be willing to take in your pet.
Step 3: Emergency Supply Kits
Just like you would make a supply kit for yourself, prepare one for your pets as well!
Include basic survival items as well as items to keep your pet happy and comfortable.
- Food: At least a 3 day supply in an airtight, waterproof container.
- Water: At least 3 days of water specifically for your pets.
- Medicines and medical records: Keep in a watertight container.
- Important Documents: Registration information, adoption papers and vaccination documents.
- First aid kit: Cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors; antibiotic ointment; flea and tick prevention; latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Including a pet first aid reference book is a good idea too.
- Collar or harness with ID tag, rabies tag and a leash
- Crate or pet carrier: Have a sturdy, safe crate or carrier in case you need to evacuate. The carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down.
- Sanitation: Pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, liquid dish soap and plastic trash bags.
- A picture of you and your pet together: If you become separated, a picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership. Add species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics.
- Familiar items: Treats, toys and bedding can help reduce stress for your pet.
Step 4: Designated Caregivers
Who will take care of your pet if you can’t get there?
This step will take considerable time and thought. When choosing a temporary caregiver, consider someone who lives close to your residence. He or she should be someone who is generally home during the day while you are at work or has easy access to your home. A set of keys should be given to this trusted individual. This may work well with neighbors who have pets of their own—you may even swap responsibilities, depending upon who has accessibility.
When selecting a permanent caregiver, you’ll need to consider other criteria. This is a person to whom you are entrusting the care of your pet in the event that something should happen to you. When selecting this “foster parent,” consider people who have met your pet and have successful cared for animals in the past. Be sure to discuss your expectations at length with a permanent caregiver, so he or she understands the responsibility of caring for your pet.
Step 5: Evacuation
When It’s Time to Evacuate
If you must evacuate, plan for the worst-case scenario. If you think you may be gone for only a day, assume that you may not be allowed to return for several weeks. When recommendations for evacuation have been announced, follow the instructions of local and state officials.
To minimize evaucation time, take these simple steps:
- Store an emergency kit and leashes as close to an exit as possible
- Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date information, including any urgent medical needs
- Be sure to write your pet’s name, your name and contact information on your pet’s carrier
Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home during a crisis.
Consider your evacuation route and call ahead to make arrangements for boarding your pet outside of the danger zone at the first sign of disaster.
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Summerville, SC 29483
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Serving Dorchester County, South Carolina since 1972