Pets in a Disaster

Sep 1, 2012

Your pet has a better chance of surviving a disaster and remaining with you if you make plans ahead of time.  Waiting until a disaster strikes to decide what to do puts you and your best friend at risk.


As I watched the news of Hurricane Isaac this week, the images were reminiscent of those that came after Hurricane Katrina seven years ago.

I saw people wading through chest-deep water trying to get to safety, or sitting on their porches or even the roofs of homes looking for rescue. And in many of the pictures, I saw pets, dogs and cats, who were stranded with their owners or being rescued by the National Guard or volunteers.

Once again, a lot of companion animals who survived will end up in animal shelters because their owners did not take necessary precautions to get them out of harm’s way.

Could that happen to your pet?

No matter where you live, the possibility exists of a disaster occurring that could impact the well-being of you and your best friend, whether it’s a hurricane, or a tornado, or a flood or fire.

Even if you were not impacted by Isaac, everyone should have a disaster plan, and that plan should include your pets.

Start with a disaster kit that includes supplies you will need for your pet – things like pet food, water, medications, even a photo of your pet in the event you get separated and have to search for your furry buddy.

Carriers are a good idea for smaller pets. They’re great for keeping a frightened animal safe, and they can double as pet beds. Include leashes, especially for larger animals.

Consider having your pet wear a collar with an ID tag listing the pet’s name and emergency phone numbers. Include at least one phone number of someone outside your area so they can be reached if you are away from home. And while you’re thinking of identification, have your pet microchipped, because collars can come off.

Most importantly, as soon as you think you might need to evacuate, do it. Don’t wait too long to leave. You could find yourself in a situation where you are trapped and unable to get out, or you may escape but be unable to take your pet with you, It’s better to make an extra trip than to risk your own life and the life of your pet in the face of a disaster.

Your best friend depends on you to keep it safe no matter what blows your way, when you’re speaking of pets.