Preparing your pet for disaster
Posted July 13, 2017
New Orleans, LA, Feb. 2006 — Members of Best Friends Rescue join
the parade down Bourbon Street during Mardis Gras with some of the
animals abandoned and rescued from Hurricane Katrina. Photo credit:
No matter where you live, it is important to be prepared for the
types of disasters that can occur in your area, such as hurricanes
or tornados. Some disasters can even be so devastating they require
evacuation. In this case, Angela Clendenin, public information
officer for the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine &
Biomedical Sciences’ Veterinary Emergency Team (VET), said it is
best to take your furry family members with you.
“After a disaster strikes, the area in and around homes can be
quite dangerous for pets,” Clendenin said.
For example, downed power lines can create a tremendous danger
for animals, especially where a power line has fallen into a home
or backyard. Additionally, fencing that has fallen or broken into
pieces also can cause injury or death in pets.
Though some choose not to evacuate during a disaster, Clendenin
said for the safety of those in your home, including pets, it is
best to leave early. In fact, Clendenin recommended evacuating as
soon as the first notice is issued.
“When evacuation is delayed, roads can get jammed with traffic
or become impassible with early flooding or debris,” Clendenin
said. “For those who need assistance with evacuating animals,
resources may become scarce or non-existent as the threat from the
disaster gets closer. Evacuating early ensures that pets and their
owners are able to get to safety before the disaster hits.”
Despite our best efforts, it can be hard to think clearly when
preparing to evacuate. Gathering enough supplies for pets and
family members can be stressful and take a lot of time—which is why
Clendenin recommended making an emergency pet kit.
“One of the best ways to prepare your pet for a potential
disaster is to create a ‘go kit’ of necessary documents and
supplies, which people can easily grab and transport with them in
the event of an evacuation,” Clendenin said. “In the case that pet
and livestock owners get separated, this kit should include
photos of pets and descriptions of where livestock is located,
using GIS coordinates, if possible. Ensuring your pets and
livestock are microchipped or visibly tagged or marked is also a
way to identify animals and establish ownership.”
In addition, be sure to pack a few days’ supply of food, water,
medications, and comfort items for your pets. If you would like
more information on what to pack in your emergency kit, Clendenin
recommended visiting https://www.ready.gov/animals.
Disasters are unpredictable and can affect anyone. Though we
can’t control the weather, we can control how we react to disasters
via our preparedness. If disaster is ever near your area, be sure
to take caution and prepare your family and pets.
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine
& Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be
viewed on the web at vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk.
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