Preparing Pet Owners for Natural Disasters

Natural disasters often leave pet owners scrambling to find shelter not only for themselves but also for their animals. And while some people are faced with the unthinkable decision of leaving a pet behind, others are challenged with how to care for their pets under devastating circumstances.

John Garcia, Emergency Response Manager at Best Friend Animal Society, offers the tips below for pet owners who might be faced with the predicament of having to prepare for a natural disaster. Best Friends Animal Society runs the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary and has led many important animal rescue efforts, providing hundreds of animals with urgent and continuing care .

Disaster Readiness Tips:

  • Put your pet’s ID on her/his collar: your name, address and phone number (consider adding the phone number of a relative or friend who lives outside of your area).
  • Have your pets microchipped
  • Have copies of your pet’s microchip information and contact information for the microchip. company in the event your pet gets lost.
  • Have current photos of your pets in case one of them gets lost.
  • Buy carriers that are easy to transport and appropriate for your pets’ sizes.
  • Always have on hand at least a one-month supply of your pets’ medications.
  • Make sure your pets’ vaccination records are current and you have copies.
  • Periodically check your pets’ collars to make sure they fit properly and tags are securely fastened.
  • Choose potential evacuation destinations – for example, homes of relatives or friends, pet-friendly hotels.
  • Periodically print out a list of phone numbers for animal shelters, animal hospitals and hotels that are pet-friendly.
  • Have a disaster kit filled with your pet’s necessary items (maintain yearly as to remove anything that can spoil over time).