Preparing for Disasters with your Pets

The AVMA publishes a great collection of disaster preparedness and evacuation plans for pets.

Have a pet carrier for transportation and temporary housing. Be sure your pet’s carrier is large enough for your dog or cat to stay in comfortably for a few days. If you evacuate to a shelter, your pets will have to spend most of their time in their crates. Cat owners should also plan on creating temporary litter boxes. These can be simply put together with a small cardboard box, plastic bags for liners, and litter.

Have a disaster preparedness kit. Include at least a week’s worth of food and fresh water, any medications your pet is on and a current prescription, as well as any health and medical records. The kit should also include a photo of you and your pets for identification purposes; a list of local pet friendly hotels, friends and relatives that can house you, and a local veterinarian; and first aid supplies.

Have proper identification for your pets. During a disaster or evacuation, the likelihood of being separated from your pets is much higher, and proper identification is the only way to ensure you’ll be reunited. Identification tags should have your name and cellphone number as well as the name of friends or relatives who lives outside of your area. Luggage identification tags make good temporary tags for your pet during a disaster. Your pet should also have a microchip with updated contact information.

Have a plan. In the event of an evacuation, know where you’re going and how you’ll get there with your pets.

The AVMA has a number of additional resources on hurricane preparedness and response. You can view these resources on the AVMA website at https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/disaster/Pages/Hurricane-Preparedness.aspx.