A Foregone Conclusion? Disaster Preparedness for Pets in CA
The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Unfortunately, this region is also highly vulnerable to all manner of natural disasters, including wildfires, earthquakes, flooding, and mudslides.
Planning for an emergency, including disaster preparedness for pets, is central to maintaining the safety of your entire family and can help you make difficult decisions when under serious pressure.
Knowing what types of disasters are likely to affect your community is step one in disaster preparedness for pets. With every passing year, we learn more about how to effectively plan for wildfires, house fires, earthquakes, and even terrorist attacks. Establishing a disaster plan is crucial to your pet’s safety and wellbeing.
We don’t always have a lot of lead time when it comes to impending disasters, but there are certain warnings that pet owners shouldn’t ignore. For example, it’s not uncommon for evacuation orders to be issued. Due to the likelihood of becoming trapped or sustaining life-threatening injuries, pets should always leave with their owners. Remember, if it’s not safe for people, it’s not safe for pets.
Having your pet microchipped is a great idea in case you become separated, but it’s not the only way to help ensure a quick or safe reunion. Your pet should also wear a collar and ID tag. Keep a recent photo of your pet inside your wallet, as well.
Going Somewhere Fast
Emergency shelters typically won’t allow animals. Disaster preparedness for pets means knowing your options beforehand. Research the following:
- Pet-friendly hotels
- Local boarding facilities outside the evacuation area
- Friends or relatives located nearby
- Ask local shelters if pets are accepted during a disaster situation
Pet Safety Supplies
To help in your planning efforts, it’s imperative to keep certain supplies on hand, such as:
- Backup leash, collar, and ID tags
- Travel kennel
- Blankets and towels
- One week of food (rotate out when expired)
- Food and water bowls
- Bottled water
- Disposable litter tray
- Puppy pads/poop bags
- Hand sanitizer/disinfectant
- Pet first aid kit
- Medical records/proof of vaccinations
- Booties for protecting paws over dangerous terrain
Please keep a very close eye on your pet’s behavior. They react to stress in ways that mirror our own. If you remain calm, so will they. If your pet hides, tries to escape, or acts uncharacteristically aggressive, try to crate them and contact us for further instructions.
Disaster Preparedness for Pets
We recommend placing at least one of the ASPCA’s emergency evacuation stickers on your front door and/or windows. This informs emergency personnel that your four-legged family member may need evacuation in case you aren’t home during a natural disaster.