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Putting safety first

When disaster strikes, whether it's people or pets, preparation makes all the difference. If conditions aren't safe for you, they're not safe for them. Take a few minutes to make a plan and assemble an emergency kit for yourself and your pet. 

Make sure your pet is licensed and microchipped

In the event that you become separated from your pet, make sure your pet licenses are up to date and your pet has been microchipped. This makes it easier for local authorities to help reunite pets and their owners.

Include pet supplies in your disaster kit

Just like having an emergency supply kit for you and your family, make sure to have one for your pet, too. Stock up on non-perishables well ahead of time, and have everything ready to go at a moment's notice. Keep everything accessible and stored in sturdy containers (duffel bags, covered trash containers, etc.) that can be carried easily. Any dry pet food should be stored in air-tight containers and refreshed every 6 months. A basic disaster kit should include food, water, any medications and medical records, pet toys, bedding, litter and litter box for cats, pet carriers and leashes, current photos of pets (should you become separated) and the name of your veterinarian should you need to board your pet.

Learn more about what should be included in your emergency kit with information from the Red Cross.  

Know where you can stay

Should you need to evacuate, plan to take your pet with you and call ahead to find out which emergency shelters allow you to bring animals. If you will be staying in a hotel or motel, here are a list of online resources that can assist you in finding pet-friendly options:

Bringfido.com
Dogfriendly.com
Doginmysuitcase.com
Pet-friendly-hotels.net
Pets-allowed-hotels.com
Petswelcome.com
Tripswithpets.com

If you stay home, make sure it is safe 

If your family and pets must wait out a storm or other disaster at home, identify a safe area inside of your home where you can all stay together. Make that safe area animal friendly:

Close off or eliminate unsafe nooks and crannies where frightened cats may try to hide.
Move dangerous items such as tools or toxic products that have been stored in the area.
Be sure to close your windows and doors, stay inside, and follow the instructions from your local emergency management office.

Be ready for everyday emergencies

From icy road conditions to extreme heat, your pet may need immediate care when you can't get there.

Find a trusted neighbor, friend, or family member and give him or her a key to your house or barn. Make sure this back-up caretaker is comfortable and familiar with your pets (and vice versa), knows your pets' whereabouts and habits. Let your back-up caretaker know where your pets' food is and where you normally feed them and keep their water bowl, and if they need any medication. If you use a pet sitting service, find out in advance if they will be able to help in case of an emergency.