Whether an emergency keeps you away from home for a day, or a week or more, you’ll need essential supplies and an emergency plan for your pets and large animals.
Have a Plan
Know where you and your pets will be going after an emergency. Have at least two pre-planned boarding locations for your animals in case you are sick, injured or must evacuate during a disaster. These facilities should be located away from your home and far apart from each other to reduce the likelihood that they will be affected by the disaster.
Grab-and-Go Kits for Your Small Pets
Assemble emergency kits for your pets and place them in a spot where they are handy to grab. Duffel bags, covered trash containers, or buckets with securely fitting lids make great containers for your pet’s kit. Items to include are:
• Wire cage or carrier with good air circulation along with a cover for sun, rain, ash, etc.
• Sturdy leashes, harnesses and collars with a ground mounting device for tying up pets temporarily
• Food and water for several days
• Your pet’s medications
• Pet beds and toys
• Current photos of you with your pets in case you are separated
• Name and contact information of your veterinarian
Be sure that all dogs, cats and small pets are always wearing collars with securely fastened identification. Identification microchips are highly recommended for all pets.
Horses and Large Animals
Emergency preparedness is important for all animals, but preparedness for horses and other large animals is critical because of their size and special transportation needs.
Horses and large animals should be evacuated as soon as an evacuation warning is issued. Do not wait for an evacuation order. If you’re unprepared or wait until the last minute, you may need to leave your animals behind.
Network with your neighbors prior to an emergency. Work together with those who do not have horse trailers or who may be away during an emergency.
Risks after a Disaster
After the crisis has passed, it may be some time before you can return to your home. Even if your house is intact and you are allowed to return, the area may not be safe for your pets.
Risks to animals after a disaster include:
• Cut paws or feet
• Burns if there has been a fire
• Eating or inhaling toxic substances or residues
• Escaping because of downed fences or other damage
• Loss of shelter and shade
• Lack of water, power, or other services
Keep in mind that when animals return to a changed landscape, they will be upset, disoriented, and easily stressed. Try to be calm and follow normal routines whenever possible.