Prepare Your Disaster Plan

The American Red Cross has excellent information on its website that can assist you in creating a plan for the people in your family. SPCA International wants to remind you that your plan needs to include your animals as well. Their survival may depend on the decisions you make.

The two most critical elements to consider regarding your animals include:

1. How to safely evacuate all your animals should you have to leave your home:
2. Where your animals will stay temporarily if you are unable to return to your home for several hours, days or maybe even weeks.

Pet owners should consider whether you have the proper size crate or cage for transporting your animals. Appropriate-sized leashes or lead ropes should be included in your disaster supply kit.   Remember that all animals will feel skittish in the chaos of an evacuation situation and it may be difficult to hold them in your arms, no matter how much personal comfort you may provide. Animals such as horses, sheep, goats and pigs will require a trailer designed for hauling large animals. If you do not have access to a trailer, now is the time to start exploring what options might exist to assist you locally. An increasing number of animal welfare organizations have disaster plans that extend to the animals in their community, so check with those near you to see what resources they may be able to provide.  They also may be able to inform you if a pre-determined evacuation shelter for animals has been identified.

All animals that normally wear collars or halters should have current identification tags on them when you evacuate. You may want to consider including a cell phone number on the tag. Micro-chipping is an additional option that provides a permanent form of identification, in addition to a tag.

When you evacuate your animals, bring enough food and water to last them for 72 hours. If you are short on space you may not be able to bring everything you and your animals need, so determine ahead of time what is most critical and what you might be able to purchase later. If you have any animals on medication, do not leave their prescriptions behind. Including a basic animal first aid kit in your disaster supplies in the case you are unable to get immediate veterinary care for a sick or injured animal.

SPCA International encourages you to think of your animals and prepare immediately. Don’t wait until the last minute to plan for the type of disaster most likely to strike where you live; if you do, it could cost an animal you love its life.

This SPCA International article is intended to help further your understanding of your animal's needs. We understand your unique bond with your pet and it is our pleasure to help you look after its welfare. Thanks to your continued support, SPCA International is able to provide you and countless others with important news regarding the safety of your pets. Thank you again for your donations – every little bit helps!

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