Don't Wait! Start Preparing Today!
If your tag allows the room we suggest placing your cell phone number and the number of a trusted friend or relative outside of the area if you are ever forced to evacuate your area.
Put together a pet disaster kit. Include things like extra bowls, leashes, harnesses, crates, up to date photos, medical information. One of the things we've done is put together an "In Case Of Emergency" binder. This binder has individual pages for each of our dogs that include an up to date photo, dietary needs, and any other special needs the dog may have. Having up to date photos helps identify and establish ownership if you and your pet were to be separated.
Know your local resources! Some communities have groups that are solely focused on providing emergency sheltering for pets, and other communities simply don’t have the resources. Never assume that you will be allowed to bring your pet to an emergency shelter.
If your community does not have pet friendly options start locating pet friendly hotels, make arrangements with friends or family, locate boarding facilities that may suit your needs, and don't rule out local animal shelters! Many animal shelters offer emergency fostering in times of natural disaster. If you aren't home when disaster strikes, be sure to set up a contingency plan with a neighbor or other trusted nearby individual. Work up a plan that best suits your needs and gives you and your pets the best chance of survival and reunion if the time were to ever arise.
Stay and Play or Load and Go?
If you are forced to evacuate rule number one is, if it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your pets. Even if you think you will only be gone for a few hours, take your pets. You have no way of knowing how long you'll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able, or allowed, to go back for your pets. Emergency scenes can change drastically quickly. Pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Those left inside your home can escape through storm-damaged areas, such as broken windows. Pets turned loose to fend for themselves are likely to become victims of exposure, starvation, predators, contaminated food or water, or accidents. Leaving dogs tied or chained outside in a disaster is a death sentence.
Rule Number Two: Don't wait for a mandatory evacuation order. Evacuations often happen in stages. Once you have been notified to start preparing for evacuation is the time you should be getting your pets ready to go. People who have waited to be evacuated by emergency officials have been told to leave their pets behind. The smell of smoke, high winds or lightening may make your pet more fearful and difficult to load into a crate or carrier. Evacuating before conditions become severe will keep everyone safer and make the process less stressful. Also, crate training your pets comes in as an essential here! Working with your pet early on establishing the crate as a safe, comforting space will help the pet want to seek out that safe area in times of stress. This will help limit their reluctance to go into the crate which will save you time.
Know Your Way Out!
After The Storm Has Passed
Be patient with your pets after a disaster. Try to get them back into their normal routines as soon as possible. Be ready for behavioral problems caused by the stress of the situation. If these problems persist, or if your pet seems to be having any health problems, talk to your veterinarian.
Be sure to search your home and yard for displaced wildlife. In situations like flood and wildfire, wild animals may have sought refuge in your home or outbuildings. This can pose serious threat to you and your pets! Remember, they are just as scared and stressed as you were!
Be prepared and we hope you never have the occasion to put your preparedness to the test! Stay safe out there this summer!