Preparing for Disasters With Pets

It is that time of year to get prepared here in North Texas for tornados, thunderstorms and high winds. BE PREPARED!

Have you ever thought about all the different things that can be classified as a disaster? How many disasters in the last few years on the following list have occurred in the United States?

  • Terrorist actions
  • Tornados
  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Hurricane
  • Long-term Power or Water Loss
  • Chemical Spill
  • Explosion
  • Broken Gas Main

What happens to your “furry or feather” companions if you and your family would have to leave your home because of a disaster? Did you know that a lot of shelters, including the American Red Cross, do not allow animals in the shelter due to public health and safety reasons? BEFORE you are faced with a situation, be prepared to give your pet(s) the security and shelter in the event of a disaster.

Find out what local boarding kennels, veterinary hospitals, friends/relatives, pet sitters and as a last resort animal shelter will provide shelter for your pet(s) should an emergency occur. You want to have several in mind as with a disaster, anyone can be affected. Know the local hotels or motels that allow pet(s) so they can stay with you during an emergency.

During a disaster, it is best to keep pet(s) in carriers or on leashes to prevent them from escaping or getting hurt. I know for my house when warnings of a possible tornado appear I start preparing the pet(s) and make sure they are secure until the threat of danger has passed. When I had six dogs, I would put crates in the hall bathroom (safest room in my house) and put pillows in the bathtub. I had to practice drills with them by putting all in the bathtub. They were so good as they seemed to know this was for them. Having practice drills will help you be prepared for your pet(s) just as you do with your children.

During the terrorist attacks, we have heard about pet gas masks. Thom Somes “The Pet Safety Guy” does not recommend gas masks for our pets. He warns, “A gas mask may actually harm your pet rather than help.” “For example, dogs keep their bodies cool by panting and if a gas mask interferes with a dog’s breathing, it could cause a dangerous rise in temperature.”

Disaster Preparedness List

The following is a list of items to have prepared for your pet(s) in the event of a disaster:

  1. A current photo (in case your pet is lost.)
  2. Medical records in the event you need to board.
  3. A week’s supply of food for each pet.
  4. Leashes
  5. Crate/carrier – be sure it is secure.
  6. Food dishes
  7. Bottled water
  8. Pet’s medications
  9. Blankets and towels
  10. Toys and chews (depending on type and age of pet)
  11. Spare collar/ID tags
  12. Litter and waste containers
  13. Plastic bags for waste
  14. Pet First Aid Kit
  15. Can opener
  16. Cleaning supplies
  17. Flashlight
  18. New batteries

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