Know where you will take your pet, and have the proper supplies ready to take with you. If you plan to stay in your home, you should also have a plan.
If you have to leave your home, take your pet. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) points out that if the situation is dangerous for people, it’s dangerous for animals too.
1. Know where to take pets if you must leave your home.
Many temporary shelters for people, such as Red Cross shelters, will not allow pets.
Research before an emergency happens to find out which hotels are pet friendly or whether a friend or family member will shelter your pet. Websites such as Bringfido.com, gopetfriendly.com or Petswelcome.com can help you find a hotel or motel willing to take in your pet. Make sure your friend or family member can take in your pet for the length of the event.
If you are away from home and can’t get to your pet, you should have a designated neighbor or friend act as a temporary caretaker. That person should know your pet and have signed authorization for veterinary care.
2. Know how to keep your pet safe at home.
- Have a designated safe area that is animal friendly and large enough to hold your family and pets. Move all dangerous or toxic items out of the area.
- Block any nooks or crannies where a frightened pet might hide.
- Keep emergency supplies for your family and your pets in the safe area. Those pet supplies should include your pet’s medications, food, water, leashes, carriers and veterinary information.
3. If you have to leave your home because you have no electricity, take your pets.
- During summer, even an hour or two in extreme heat can be dangerous. Check if your community has pet-friendly cooling centers.
- In winter, a fur coat will not keep your pet from freezing in an unheated house.
4. Check out these resources for caring for pets during emergencies.
- “Saving the Whole Family” brochure includes checklists and contact numbers (AVMA)
- “Preparing for Your Pets Makes Sense. Get Ready Now.” brochure (Department of Homeland Security)
- FEMA information on planning and caring for animals in an emergency