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4 Steps to Evacuating with Pets

Don’t Forget to Include Pets in Emergency Preparedness Plan.

As a pet owner, it’s important to be prepared for an emergency. In some cases, emergency situations may require you to leave your home for days, weeks, or even longer – and such evacuations go more smoothly and safely if you prepare ahead of time.

Step 1: Arrange short-term boarding for your pet

In the event you must evacuate to a shelter or other location that does not accept pets, you’ll need to know ahead of time where your animal can spend a few days without you. If you have friends nearby, but outside of your immediate area, ask if they’re willing to take in your pet for a few days. Also, call local animal shelters and kennels to determine what places provide emergency care during evacuations.

Step 2: Choose a long-term or permanent caregiver for your animal in case something happens to you

Consider the qualifications of everyone you know, and choose someone experienced with animals and who has the time and money to care for an additional pet. Speak with any potential caregivers to determine their interest level and to make certain they understand the time and effort required to care for a pet.

Step 3: Pack an emergency evacuation kit for your pets

It’s important to be prepared by putting together an emergency kit for pets ahead of time.

Make sure your kit is in an easy-to-reach location, clearly labeled, and portable. Include at least 3 days worth of pet food, disposable litter trays (if you have a cat), paper towels for messes, disinfectant, lightweight feeding dishes, an extra collar and leash (for dogs), 7 days of bottled water for every person and pet in your household, a basic first aid kit, copies of veterinary records and other important papers, a flashlight, blanket, chew toys, duct tape, permanent markers, extra batteries, baby wipes, and a week’s supply of any pet medications.

See our guide on preparing an emergency 72-hour kit for pets.

Step 4: Develop a plan and practice it

Study evacuation routes out of your local area and have a back-up plan in place in case you are unable to evacuate in time. Determine which rooms in your house are safest during high winds or flooding. Also, find a safe, dry place in your home for storing food and important items during storms or other natural disasters. Run through your emergency procedure to determine how long it will take you to collect your emergency kit, grab your animals, and head to safe area.

Also, obtain an emergency pet alert sticker for your home to notify emergency officials and rescue workers of the presence of animals inside your home. List the number and type of pets inside your home and your veterinarian’s name and contact information. You can obtain these stickers free of charge from the ASPCA.

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This article was written by one of our guest contributors.

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