ASSEMBLE A DISASTER KIT:If you have to evacuate, you’ll need supplies for your pet(s) too. Stock up on non-perishables ahead of time and have a pet kit ready to go. Use sturdy containers (duffel bags, covered trash containers) that can be easily carried. Dry pet food should be stored in air-tight containers and refreshed every 6 months.
- Food and water for at least 5 days: Each pet needs bowls, a manual can opener if you pack canned food. People need at least one gallon of water per person per day. One gallon for your pet and keep an extra gallon on hand in case your pet is exposed to chemicals or flood waters, and needs to be rinsed.
- Medications and medical records: Store these in a waterproof container along with a first aid kit. .
- Cat litter box, litter, litter scoop, garbage bags: Collect all of your pets’ waste.
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses, carriers: Transport your pet safely and ensure your pets can’t escape. Carriers should be large enough to allow your pet to stand comfortably, turn around, and lie down. Your pet may have to stay in the carrier for hours at a time.
- Current photos of you with your pets and descriptions of your pets: Help others identify your pets in case you become separated, and prove they are yours once you’re reunited.
- Pet beds and toys: Take these if it’s easy to do. They reduce pet stress.
- Written information about your pets, including feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior issues, along with name and phone for your veterinarian: If you have to board your pets or place them in foster care, this will help.
- Other useful items: Take newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags, grooming items, and household bleach.
EVACUATE EARLY: Don’t wait for a mandatory evacuation order. People who wait to be evacuated by emergency officials have been told to leave their pets behind. The smell of smoke, high winds or lightning may make your pet fearful and difficult to load into a carrier. Evacuate before conditions become severe.
IF YOU STAY HOME, STAY SAFE: If you must wait out a storm or disaster at home, identify a safe area of your home where you can all stay together. Make the safe space animal friendly:
- Close off/eliminate unsafe nooks and crannies where frightened cats may try to hide.
- Move dangerous items such as tools or toxic products that are stored in that area.
- Close windows and doors, stay inside, and follow instructions from your local emergency management office.
- Bring your pets indoors as soon as local authorities say trouble is on the way. Keep pets under your direct control; if you have to evacuate, you can find them easily. Keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers, and make sure they are wearing identification.
- If you establish a “safe room,” put your emergency supplies there in advance, including pet crate and supplies. Medications and a pet food supply of food and water stored in watertight containers, along with emergency supplies. Close off open fireplaces, vents, pet doors with plastic sheeting and strong tape.
- Listen to the radio periodically, and don’t come out until you know it’s safe.
- Give a trusted neighbor, friend, family member a key to your house or barn. Make sure they are comfortable and familiar with your pets (and vice versa).
- Make sure your backup caretaker knows your pets’ whereabouts and habits.
- Let your backup caretaker know where you store pet food and supplies, the location of their feeding/water bowls, and if they need medication.
- If you use a pet sitter, find out in advance if they are able to help in an emergency. Keep their numbers on your cell phone.