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When Disaster Strikes is Your Pet Ready?

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With the recent threat of a hurricane, it begs the question: while you’re preparing for an emergency, is your pet also top of mind? 

The Humane Society of the United States has developed a comprehensive disaster checklist to help keep pets safe in the wake of natural disasters. It is advisable to have a disaster kit ready in your home at all times should you need to evacuate with little notice.

Some items that should be included:

Food and water for at least five days for each pet. Also bring bowls and a manual can opener if you are packing canned pet food.

Medications for at least five days and all medical records, including vaccination history. Keep these stored in a waterproof container. You may also consider storing them digitally on a flash drive or online.

Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with tags for identification.  Microchipping your pet is ideal as collars can be easily removed.

Pack a pet first aid kit.

Litter box with extra liter and a scoop. 

Sturdy leashes, harnesses and carriers to transport pets safely.

Current photos of you with your pets and descriptions of your animals.

Comfort items, which may include a pet bed or a special toy, to reduce stress.

Written information about your pet’s feeding schedules, medical conditions and behavior issues along with the name and number of your veterinarian. 

Some helpful tips for the safety of animals in disasters:

If it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pet. Never assume that you will be allowed to bring your pet to an emergency shelter. Before a disaster hits, call your local office of emergency management to verify that there will be shelters in your area that take people and their pets. 

Have a list of hotels and motels that accept pets in a 100-mile radius of your home. Make arrangements with friends or relatives to ensure that you and your pets are able to seek shelter in their home, if needed. If housing together is not an option, know the requirements of your kennel or veterinarian’s office for pet boarding. 

As a last resort, connect with your local animal shelter to determine if they will offer temporary boarding during the time of crisis. Keep in mind that they may too be impacted by the disaster and unavailable to house animals. 

Have a plan in place for when you are out of town or cannot get home to your pet when a disaster strikes. Find a trusted neighbor, friend or family member and give them a spare key. Ensure that they know your pet’s feeding and medication schedules.

If you stay home, do it safely. If your family and pets must wait out at home, identify a safe area of your home where you can all stay together. Keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers, and make sure they are wearing identification. To learn more about keeping your pet safe in the event of a disaster, visit

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