Emergency Pet Preparedness
Emergencies come in many forms, and they may require anything from a brief absence from your home to permanent evacuation. Each type of disaster requires different measures to keep your pets safe. The best thing you can do for yourself and your pets is to be prepared.
Step 1. Get a Rescue Alert Sticker
This easy-to-use sticker will let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers, and that it includes:
If you must evacuate with your pets, and if time allows, write "EVACUATED" across the stickers.
To get an emergency pet alert sticker for your home, please fill out our online order form (please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery). Your local pet supply store may also sell similar stickers.
Step 2. Arrange a Safe Haven
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 Red Cross disaster shelters will not accept pets because of health and safety regulations, so it is imperative that you have determined where you will bring your pets ahead of time:
Step 3. Emergency Supplies and Traveling Kits
Keep an emergency kit and supplies handy for your pets. Make sure that everyone in the family knows where it is. This kit should be clearly labeled and easy to carry. You may want to order a Pet Grab ‘N Go Bag for each of your pets from the ASPCA Online Store. These sturdy, waterproof bags are specifically designed for carrying your pet’s documents, medications, and other emergency items.
Items to consider keeping in or near your kit include:
The ASPCA Online Store offers many useful pet supplies for emergencies, such as first-aid kits, travel bowls, and safety leashes and collars.
You should also have an emergency kit for the human members of the family. Items to include: batteries, duct tape, flashlight, radio, multi-tool, tarp, rope, permanent marker, spray paint, baby wipes, protective clothing and footwear, extra cash, rescue whistle, important phone numbers, extra medication, and copies of medical and insurance information.
Step 4. Choose “Designated Caregivers”
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 successfully 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. Click here for information about pet trusts.
Step 5. Evacuation Preparation
If you must evacuate your home in a crisis, 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 evacuation time, take these simple steps:
Step 6. Geographic and Climatic Considerations
Do you live in an area that is prone to certain natural catastrophes, such as tornadoes, earthquakes or floods? If so, you should plan accordingly.
If emergency officials recommend that you stay in your home, it's crucial that you keep your pets with you. Keep your emergency kit and supplies close at hand. Your pets may become stressed during the in-house confinement, so you may consider crating them for safety and comfort.