RESOURCES & LINKS > PREPARING FOR EMERGENCIES
Hurricane Katrina taught everyone a lesson in disaster preparedness, and it extends to our pets. Companion animals rely completely on their human friends to care for their needs, in good times and bad. The following list can help you prepare for emergencies and unexpected evacuations.
- Keep your pet's information current at all times. Make sure your pets collar has current tags on it - you can obtain engravable tags right in the store at area Petco and PetSmarts. Please avoid the use of chain and choke collars, and please use break away safety collars for cats.
- All pets in your household should microchipped. A microchip ID is a small chip implanted in the back of your pet's neck, and you register your contact information with the chip company. If your pets is every lost and picked up by animal control, an animal shelter or a veterinarian, the pet can be scanned and your contact information is obtained. Microchips IDs work even if your pet's collar falls off, they reunite pets with owners quickly, and they prevent owned pets from being accidentally euthanized at public shelters. The $35-$45 fee at a veterinarian's office for the microchip ID is worth every cent.
- Have current color photographs that show distinctive markings of your pet with your emergency supplies.
- If you know an emergency or disaster in coming, get your pets inside your home immediately. Have leashes, crates or carriers readily available in case you need them.
- Have back-up arrangements with your neighbors, friends or family members to care for your pets in case disaster strikes while you're away.
- Take your pet(s) with you when you evacuate! Don't rely on emergency personnel and rescue workers to care for your pet. You should have a list of hotels and motels that accept pets on hand ahead of time. Just like for people, you'll need ample supplies of water and pet food for your animal friends. You should have a carrier, crate or leash for each one of your pets, plus necessary supplies. Disaster supplies include: carriers/crates (a must have for cats), food/water bowls, pet food, litter and litter box for cats, medications, blankets, first aid kit, health records (including rabies vaccination records) and leashes (leashes with a harness for cats is a great idea if you have to take them out of their carrier).
- If you must leave your pet behind for some reason, please note that leaving your pet behind puts the animal at risk. Rescue workers often will not enter your home to care for your pet for safety and legal reasons. At a minimum, leave enough food for at least three or more days, and leave as many bowls of clean water behind as possible. You can also leave a faucet dripping slightly so the pet has access to clean water. As we learned with Katrina, you may not be able to get back to your home for some time when disaster strikes. Many pets died in New Orleans when owners left them in crates or in a home with little food and water, thinking they would be returning in a day or two. Plan for the worst, and take your pet(s) with you if at all possible.