September is National Preparedness Month

Fema Pet Prep images

Are you prepared if a disaster strikes? Does your plan include your pet?

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Start today by:
• Making a plan and
• Preparing a disaster kit
By doing so, you are protecting the health of not only your pet, but yourself, your family, and others in your community.

To get started, familiarize yourself with the types of disasters that could impact your area and consider your options for providing care for your pet(s).

Make a Plan
Disasters can happen without warning, so be prepared for these events:

  • Make sure your pet(s) wear collars and tags
    with up-to-date contact information and other
  • Microchip your pet(s) – this is one of the best
    ways to ensure that you and your pet are
    reunited if you are separated. Always be sure
    to register the microchip with the
    manufacturer and keep your contact
    information up to date with the microchip
  • Purchase a pet carrier for each of your pets
    (write your pet’s name, your name and
    contact information on each carrier).
  • Keep a leash and/or carrier nearby the exit.
  • Ensure proper equipment for pets to ride in
    the car (carriers, harnesses, pet seatbelts).
  • If you do not have a car, make arrangements
    with neighbors, family and friends.
  • Decide where you and your pet are going to
    stay. Based on the severity of a disaster, you
    may have two options for your pets:

    • Sheltering in place
    • Sheltering in a facility away from home
      (during an evacuation)

Sheltering in Place
When sheltering at home with your pet, make sure the room chosen is pet-friendly in the following ways:

  • Select a safe room, preferably an interior room
    with no (or few) windows.
  • Remove any toxic chemicals or plants.
  • Close off small areas where frightened cats
    could get stuck in (such as vents or beneath
    heavy furniture).

Sheltering during an evacuation

  • Some jurisdictions will offer companion animal
    sheltering with general population and
    functional/access needs sheltering. Check
    your local media and/or County Emergency
    website, or ReadyErie (Erie County residents).
  • If accommodations are needed for your pet(s):
    • Contact local veterinary clinics, boarding
      facilities, and local animal shelters. Visit the
      Humane Society website to find a shelter in
      your area.
    • Contact family or friends outside the
      evacuation area.
    • Contact a pet-friendly hotel, particularly
      along evacuation routes.

Prepare a Pet Disaster Kit
Prepare a disaster kit for your pet(s), so evacuation will go smoothly for your entire family. Ask your veterinarian for help putting it together.
Some examples of what to include are:

Disaster Supplies for Pets

  • Food (in airtight waterproof containers or
    cans) and water for at least 2 weeks for each
  • Food and water bowls and a manual can
  • For cats: litter box and litter
  • For dogs: plastic bags for poop
  • Clean-up items for bathroom accidents (paper
    towels, plastic trash bags, bleach-containing
    cleaning agent)
  • Medications for at least 2 weeks, along with
    any treats used to give the medications and
    pharmacy contact for refills
  • Medical records
    • Rabies vaccination certificate
    • Current vaccination record
    • If your pet has a microchip, a record of the
      microchip number
    • Prescription for medication(s)
    • For cats, most recent FeLV/FIV test result or
      vaccination date
    • Summary of pertinent medical history; ask
      your veterinarian for a copy
  • Sturdy leashes or harnesses
  • Carrier or cage that is large enough for your
    pet to stand comfortably and turn around;
    towels or blankets
  • Pet toys and bed (familiar items to help the pet
    [s] feel more comfortable).
  • A handout containing identification
    information (in the event you get separated
    from your pet)

    • Current photo of pet
    • Pet’s descriptive features (age, sex,
      neutered/non-neutered status, color(s), and
      approximate weight)
    • Microchip number
    • Owner contact information (cell phone,
      work phone, home phone)
    • Contact information of a close relative or
  • A handout with boarding instructions, such as
    feeding schedule, medications, and any known
    allergies and behavior problems
  • Documents, medications, and food should be
    stored in waterproof container

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