Disasters Can Happen Any Time, Any Where

Whether it’s a flood, home fire, storm damage, or evacuation, it’s important to have a plan for your family, including your pets. In addition to having an evacuation plan, you should always have a pet disaster relief kit at hand.

Disaster PreparednessDue to local and state regulations, many disaster shelters are not allowed to take in pets (excluding service animals). As part of your disaster pet preparedness kit, have a list of hotels/motels outside your local area that accept pets, any friends or family members that may be able to take them in during an emergency, or any potential pet boarding facilities outside your area. During emergency situations, some local shelters will also have a set amount of kennel space to offer pets during disasters.

Your kit should also include any medications your pet is taking with their current medical records and instructions, and a basic pet first aid kit (available at the Red Cross Store) in a waterproof container. For transport, make sure your pet’s leash/harness is secure or you have a sturdy carrier. Pets, especially cats, can be frightened easily in strange surroundings so it’s important to make their carrier is as familiar as possible. Be sure to bring some bedding and a toy to help comfort them. For cats, include a spray bottle of Feliway (available for purchase at the clinic), which is a synthetic copy of a cat’s natural facial pheromones used to mark their territory to help make them feel safe. It can help decrease their stress level not only in their carrier, but in a new environment as well. In the event your pet gets away from you, make sure to have their microchip numbers handy with a current photo and any other helpful identifying information. Even if your pet has a microchip, make sure before traveling that your pet has a collar or harness with an identifying tag and contact number.

For more basic needs, your kit should include enough food and water for your pet for 10 days. Don’t forget to include bowls, litter, litter box, litter scoop, garbage bags and manual can opener. If your pet is on a prescription diet, make sure to include a written script from your veterinarian in case you are dislocated for an extended period of time.

In addition to your disaster kit, you should always have identifying stickers on your windows and doors indicating to rescue officials how many pets you have and what type. In the event that you evacuate with your pet during a disaster, make sure to write across those stickers “EVACUATED” to prevent rescue workers from wasting valuable time searching. These stickers can help save your pet’s life in the event of a home fire, or any disaster where you are not able to get home to your pet.

For additional helpful tips, check out the American Red Cross and the Humane Society of the United States .

If you have any additional questions or need help putting together your kit, feel free to call us at 703-525-1955. The hope is you’ll never need this information, but the best attitude is to be prepared for anything life might throw at you and your furry companion(s).