Ready, Set, Go! Things to Have Done before Evacuating with Your Pets

Several years ago, I wrote a blog post about horse-sense emergencies, stipulating what horse owners should have on hand. While that is a relevant, useful blog post, it got me to thinking about hurricanes, storms, fires, and what small-animal owners will need should they have to evacuate their homes. The old saying about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure holds true for most anything. What follows is a simple, ten-step checklist of common-sense ways to make certain that you and your small animals (meaning not livestock such as horses or cattle) are ready to go in case of emergency.

  1. I have a collar with identification tags and up-to-date contact information on each of my pets.
  2. I have microchipped each of my pets, and each microchipped pet has a current tag with the name of the microchip service. Emergency contact information is filed with the animal’s veterinarian as well as the microchip service, and I have the microchip number stored in a safe, easily accessible location.
  3. I have up-to-date and documented vaccinations for each pet. Additionally, I have copies of vaccination and health records to take with me.
    Tip! Scan each pet’s veterinary records, placing the files in an online account such as Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, and so on. Alternately, save digital copies of records to a thumb or flash drive, which can be clipped to your keychain or stored in a vehicle’s glove box.
  4. I have one week’s supply of food and water for each pet, and medication for each pet for two weeks. I also have necessary supplies such as cat litter, dog bags, dog toys, fish food, and the like.
  5. I have a carrier for each small pet and sturdy collars and leashes for each dog with me.
  6. I have a current photo of each of my pets should they become lost. (It is also a good idea for you to have a photo of yourself with each animal should you need to prove ownership.)
  7. All of my pets can fit in my vehicle, or I have made and verified alternate transport plans.
  8. I have a planned destination in case of evacuation, and that destination knows that will be arriving with animals. Additionally, I have both evacuation and alternative evacuation routes planned.
  9. My veterinarian has current, written authorization and payment information on hand for a person I have designated who may seek medical care for my pets if I am not able to do so.
  10. I have a “mutual aid” agreement in place with a neighbor. We agree to check on each other’s pets if one of us cannot do so during an emergency.

By their very nature, emergencies can be scary and unpredictable. When you follow through and complete checklists like the one provided here, you increase the odds that both you and your pets will come through an emergency safely. Good luck, and may you never need to execute the steps contained herein.



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