Pet Preparedness for Emergencies
Emergencies come in many forms, and they may require anything from a brief absence from your home to a permanent evacuation. Each type of disaster requires different measures to keep your pets safe. The best thing you can do for yourself and your pets is to be prepared. Some disasters to consider in Texas are hurricanes, flash floods, tornadoes, and fires.
If you need to evacuate, it is always best to take your pets with you. If it’s not safe for you, it’s not safe for them. Animals left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed.
"I was living in Galveston during Hurricane Ike, and any pets left to fend for themselves died in this horrible storm. I had to swim, with my dog in my arms, to safety as my apartment quickly filled with eight feet of water. We watched helplessly as everything around us was destroyed. It was an entire month before we were able to come home, and our dogs had to stay in a shelter away from us for three months. We were left with nothing but our dogs, the clothes on our backs, and the memories of the place we called home. Don’t let this happen to you and your family. BE PREPARED!"
The first step in being prepared is to assemble an animal evacuation kit. You can find a helpful list of essentials and disaster checklists at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals website or the American Veterinary Medical Association website.
Be sure to include enough food, water, and any necessary medications to last no less than one week. Also, get your pets’ medical records ahead of time in case they need medications or treatments after a disaster and you’re unable to go to your usual veterinarian. You can obtain your records from All Pets Animal Hospital through Pet Portals.
You should also make sure your pets have identification (microchip, collar with tag, tattoo, etc.) in case they get separated from you or have to temporarily stay in an animal shelter.
Next, consider how you will transport your pets. You may be in your vehicle for extended periods of time. Make sure your pets are in a comfortable carrier and are able to eat, have access to water, and are able to void regularly.
Also, know where you’re going to evacuate to ahead of time. Make sure you are able to take your pets to the place to which you’ll be evacuating.
If you will not be evacuating, identify the safest place in your home to wait out a storm. All family members, including all pets, should stay in this area until it is safe. Keep animals on leashes or in carriers and make sure they have identification. Make sure you have enough food, water, and medications, along with your other emergency supplies in watertight containers.
After a storm, everyone in the family will need a period of adjustment and want to return to a normal routine as soon as possible. Like you, your pets may be very stressed during this time. Be patient with them, as they don’t understand what’s going on and may exhibit behavior you’re not used to seeing from them.