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Is your pet prepared?

Create disaster preparedness kit and have a plan

Seven hundred people were evacuated in 72 hours and 76 pets were evacuated within 48 hours in 2016 during an ordered departure from Incirlik AB, Turkey. Photo credit: SFC Eduardo Quezada

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Pets are important members of our families and are affected by the same disasters we are.  If you have pets in your household, it is imperative to include them in your emergency preparedness plans.  Emergency planning done today reduces difficulty, stress and worry during an emergency and increases the likelihood that you and your pets will remain safe. Get prepared by creating a disaster preparedness kit for your pet and developing a plan for shelter and evacuation. 

If you must evacuate, ensure that your plans include your pets. Locate and prearrange an evacuation site for your family and animals that is outside of your immediate area. An evacuation site could be a friend or relative's house, or even a pet-friendly hotel. Have a list of hotels that allow pets and boarding facilities along your evacuation route. Other possible animal housing options include veterinary hospitals and animal shelters.

It is not always possible to keep your pet with you during an evacuation. Some temporary public shelters may not allow pets, or transportation options may be human-only. In this instance, it is important to have a list of local shelters in your area. It is also recommended to set up a pet care buddy. This is a person, often a neighbor, who is familiar with your animals and could assist in evacuation or caring for your pets if you were not around. Having shelter alternatives will help you make the best possible decision in an emergency.  

A pet disaster preparedness kit should be assembled in an easy-to-carry container and stored in a readily accessible location. Food, water and medications will need to be replaced as often as needed to avoid expiration dates. Waterproof containers are the best choice to avoid spoilage or contamination. A basic kit should include:

1. Transportation

  • Pet carrier -- ideally hard-sided and labeled with contact information
  • Leash/collar

2. Identification

  • ID tags
  • Microchip with updated registration

3. Records

  • Vaccine records, rabies certificate 
  • Medication records (drug name, dose, frequency, veterinary and pharmacy contact)
  • Proof of ownership
  • A recent photo of you and your pet
  • Animal description 
  • Boarding instructions (diet, prescriptions, behavior issues) 
  • Owner contact information and emergency contact 

4. Food/water/medication -- 3 to 14 days supply

5. Sanitation

  • Waste disposal bags
  • Trash bags, paper towels, disinfectant
  • Litter, litter pans, litter scoop

6. First aid kit 

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