Saturday, November 10, 2012

Disaster Preparedness for Pets

We all want  to protect the ones we love.




.  So in the face of Hurricane Sandy disaster preparedness for pets is on a lot of people's minds.  We were very lucky in the storm, our home sustained no damage and we were only without power for a week.   However, the experience has made me more aware of the importance of preparing to protect my furry babies in the event of a disaster.

Rule number one of disaster preparedness: If you must evacuate, never ever leave your pets behind.  This tip is posted on FEMA's website.  Sometimes people assume they will only have to leave their homes for a few hours or a day and they leave their pets, most likely cats, in their home.  However, disasters are by their nature unpredictable and you never know how long you may have to wait before getting back.  This was a lesson learned by the inhabitants of the apartment buildings near 57 street in Manhattan where a crane  came lose in the hurricane and threatened to fall on pedestrians below.   Residents where evacuated and thinking the problem would be fixed quickly a few left their pets behind, unfortunately the crane problem was not easy to fix and it kept residents out of their homes for a week.

Luckily, after Hurricane Katrina forced government officials to see how important pets are to evacuating families The Pet Evacuation and Transport Act was passed in 2006 and it requires that state and local emergency plans address the needs of pet owners.  Thanks to this act most localities now offer animal friendly shelters or make provisions to house family pets in animal shelters during emergencies.     In addition many communities provide food for pets effected by disasters, In Jersey City food for pets affected by Sandy was provided at the local animal shelter.   

If you have multiple animals, as I do, it might be most practical to have a list of local dog boarding facilities, pet friendly hotels, and friends who can provide for a few of your animals in the event of an evacuation as it might not be possible to handle multiple animals in an evacuation shelter. Of course if you can stay in your home then that is most likely the best thing for your pets, but you need to make sure it is a safe and feasible option and if it is not leave, and leave early.

The needs of dogs and cats in an emergency situation are different and its important to have plans for both species.

For Dogs
  • Enough kibble and canned food for at least a week
  • ID tags
  • Medical Records
  • Medication
  • Leash and collar and back up collar
  • Well labeled Collapsible Crate
  • Water (this is especially important if you stay home with your pet, you need about 1 gallon of water per day per dog).   I had about 40 gallons of water which would have lasted about 4 days for all of us (dogs, cats, and people) and that would not have been enough as we had no power for a week.   I am very thankful we did not have our water turned off.
  •   Favorite toy or chew.
For Cats
  • Enough dry food and canned food for at least a week
  • ID tags or information descriptions (my cats remove all break away collars they wear so ID tags don't really work)
  • Well labeled Carriers
  • Blanket (the cat may be calmer if the carrier is covered)
  • Aluminum tray and litter 
  • Toys
In addition to the things I listed above it might be a good idea to have a stress relieving remedy such as Bach's Rescue Remedy.  For birds, rabbits, or or other pets you would of course need different supplies.   So make your list accordingly preparing to have enough for at least a week.    

You can't prepare for everything in life but we you can do your best to take care of yourself and your pet at a time when you will need each other.


  1. Hey Urban Hounds, Jet here. Hi Miss Kate.

    So relieved you were not affected more severely.

    Perfect post while the spotlight is on disaster relief/preparedness. Living in "H" central, we receive that info each spring. Always good to have a reminder.

  2. Excellent tips! Another one is to make sure that your pets are up to date on all the requires vaccines. A shelter in North Carolina took in all animals, regardless of vaccine status which was awesome. Unfortunately, the shelter was infested with bats. Those pet owners who had not kept the rabies vaccine up to date had to leave their pets in quarantine for six months!
    I am not a huge fan of vaccines but my pets are always up to date on rabies. They get titre tested for the others to prevent vaccinosis.

  3. Such a great post! I bet after Sandy you could write a whole book on this! I can't imagine leaving a pet behind.

  4. Good advice there and a very comprehensive list of things to do and things you need. Have a super Saturday.
    Best wishes Molly

  5. this is a great list. i can't imagine having to evacuate and leave my babies behind. we have three cat carriers in the basement at the ready if something every happens! and probably 100 gallons of water. my husband is really into being prepared.

  6. Really, really good list. I could never imagine leaving my cats and dog behind either, but I know how easily that could happen. Thanks for sharing and glad you are safe!

  7. Good tips, thanks, that's given us something to think about. Although in the UK our climate is generally moderate, with climate change who knows what will happen in the future.
    Toodle pip!
    PS from Gail - on the recommendation of a friend (my boss in fact!), I tried Bach's Rescue Remedy on Bertie before taking him on the train the other week. I am disappointed to report that it made no difference whatsoever and completely failed to calm him down.

    1. I have never tried it personally and due suspect that there may be some placebo affect on the owners, not the dogs

  8. That is great advice - that I hope I will never have to put in place.
    I would be more likely to leave my hubby behind than the dogs, LOL!
    Lynne x

  9. What a great list! I'm glad you are all doing okay after
    Miss Sandy came to visit!

  10. very good post for every buddy
    Benny & Lily

  11. We went to a presenation on this at one of the walks we were at this summer and they suggest having it in a bag you can grab. You should have copies of your medical records and they suggest having pictures of you with your pets as means of identification should you drop your pets at the shelter and have a need to demonstrate ownership after the fact. If you have the chance to meet with the people that run the emergency local shelters I really encourage all of you to do it. It gave us some valuable insight as to what we need to do to be ready.

  12. I am so pleased that you were safe!

  13. Really Great Tips I like iT.

    Thank you For Post.

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