The best way to protect your household from the effects of a disaster is to have a disaster plan. If you are a pet owner, that plan must include your pets. Being prepared can save their lives.
Know a Safe Place to Take Your Pets
- If you have to evacuate your home during a disaster, the best way to protect your pets is to evacuate them too. If it's not safe for you to stay behind then it's not safe to leave pets behind either.
- Know which hotels and motels along your evacuation route will accept pets in an emergency. Call ahead for reservations if you know you may need to evacuate. Ask if no pet policies could be waived in an emergency.
- Most shelters cannot accept pets because of health and safety concerns and other considerations. Service animals that assist people with disabilities are allowed in Red Cross shelters.
- Know which friends, family, boarding facilities, animal shelters or veterinarians can care for your animals in an emergency. Prepare a list with phone numbers.
- Although your pets may be more comfortable together, be prepared to house them separately. Include your pets in evacuation drills so that they become used to entering and traveling in their carriers calmly.
- Make sure that your pet’s vaccinations are current and that all dogs and cats are wearing collars with securely fastened, up-to-date identification. Many pet shelters require proof of current vaccinations to reduce the spread of disease.
- Consider having your pet microchipped by your veterinarian. A microchip is your pet's permanent ID. A pet microchip—the size of a grain of rice—goes beneath your pet's skin. This permanent ID can never be removed or become impossible to read. Vets use this ID to contact you and reunite you with your pet.