YOU May Be Ready For a Disaster, But What About Your Pets?

by Ron Haynes


CopperWith tornado, hurricane, and wildfire season just around the corner, many are making their disaster preparedness plans. Since pets can present a special challenge in natural disasters, plan ahead now for their safety. Candlewood Suites (just south of Memphis) allowed us to bring our little Dachshund, Copper, during the ice storm that turned our world upside down this past winter (yes, that’s him in the picture). Thank you Candlewood Suites!

When weather threatens.

Watch them closely. Stress can cause abnormal behavior, even if Fido or Fifi is usually calm and laid back. If you have multiple pets, it may be a good idea to keep them separated. Stress can make them antsy and irritable. You don’t want anyone getting injured now.
They “feel” it coming. Ancient peoples knew that animals have a keen sense of weather and will hide when severe weather approaches. To make sure your pets don’t disappear when bad weather threatens, keep your them close to you.
Don’t leave them at home. Evacuating and leaving your pet at home is the worst possible option for your pet. But if you absolutely cannot evacuate your pet to a safe place, be sure to:

  • Restrict your pet to a safe area inside your home like an interior room. Never leave your pet chained outside.
  • Provide plenty of food and water. Put out plenty of bowls of water and consider investing in an inexpensive watering system like the this 1.5 gallon pet fountain for the little guys.
  • Place a visible notice outside your home with information about where your pets are located and how you and your vet can be reached.

Plan Where to Board Your Pet.

Boarding your pet may not fit into your budget, but that’s just one of the reasons you’ve established an emergency fund. Just remember, health regulations prevent most disaster shelters from allowing any pets except service animals for those with disabilities. Maybe that will change in the future, but in the meantime, do some research ahead of time to set up other shelter possibilities for your pet. Look into the following places and keep this list with your emergency pet supplies kit.

  • Pet-friendly hotels and motels
  • Friends and relatives outside the affected area
  • Boarding facilities and/or veterinarians
  • Animal shelters

Evacuation notices may come days or just hours in advance. If a warning is issued or if you suspect one may be issued, call ahead to confirm any shelter arrangements. Make sure your pet is current on all vaccinations and that they are wearing up-to-date tags. If you know the contact information for your pet’s temporary shelter, tape it to the back of the pet’s tag or add another temporary tag to their collar.

Assemble a Pet Disaster Supplies Kit

If you have to evacuate and can take your pet with you, you’ll need pet supplies. Keep them in an easy-to-carry container (your pet carrier is ideal). Your kit should include:

  • Food, water, bowls, and a can opener. Even if you don’t think you’ll need the can opener, bring it anyway.
  • Leashes, harnesses, or carriers that will ensure your pet’s safety during transport
  • Cat litter, pan, and cleaning utensils
  • Medications, medical and vaccination records
  • Information about feeding schedules, medical con­ditions, or behavior problems—include the name and phone number of your veterinarian
  • Current photo of your pet in case it gets lost
  • Anything that will make your pet feel more at home (blanket, toys, etc)
  • Disaster preparation is all about thinking things through ahead of time . Isn’t that what insurance actually is? No one is at the top of their game when under emergency evacuation pressure, so make the preparations now. You and your pet will be glad you did!

    About the author

    Ron Haynes has written 1001 articles on The Wisdom Journal.


    The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.


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    { 1 comment }

    Leslie Irvine

    This is an excellent and timely post. Readers might be interested to know about a book I’ve written, titled Filling the Ark: Animal Welfare in Disasters (Temple University Press). It’s coming out next month. Any bookstore can order it if it isn’t on the shelves. You can also order it through Amazon.

    For info on me:
    http://socsci.colorado.edu/SOC/People/Faculty/irvine.html

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