Most disaster shelters cannot accept pets because of health and safety regulations. Service animals for people with disabilities are an exception.
It is imperative that residents determine where they will take their pets ahead of time. Here are some recommendations for pet owners:
- Contact your veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding kennels and facilities for use in the event of an emergency.
- Identify hotels and motels that accept pets.
- Ask friends and relatives if they would accept your pets during an emergency.
- Get to know the policies and staff of your local animal control authority, as well as the local animal non-profit rescue and care groups.
- Ask neighbors and friends to evacuate your animals if a disaster strikes when you are away.
- License your companion animals; make sure your animals can be easily identified (microchip, identification tags, tattoos, ear tags, etc.) so they can be reunited with you after the disaster.
- Prepare supplies for their pets. Stock up on non-perishables ahead of time, add perishables at the last minute, and have everything ready to go at a moment's notice. Keep everything accessible, stored in a sturdy container that can be easily carried-a go-bag for your pet. Pet supplies should include:
- Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container and a first aid kit - a pet first aid book is also good to include
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses and carriers to transport pets safely and to ensure that they can't escape
- Carriers should be large enough for the animal to stand comfortably, turn around and lie down; the pet may have to stay in the carrier for hours at a time.
- Food and water for three days for each pet, including bowls, cat litter, and litter box and a can opener
- Pet beds and toys, if you can easily take them, to reduce stress
- Other useful items include newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags, grooming items, and household bleach
- Take pictures of you with your animal(s) so you can show proof of ownership if you are separated during a disaster.