Your Disaster Preparedness Checklist for Pets
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Your Disaster Preparedness Checklist for Pets

By Ring on April 3, 2024

As a pet parent, you have everything you need to keep your furry friends healthy and happy. But if in the case of a natural disaster, you may need extra supplies and a thorough plan to help ensure your pets can evacuate or stay put safely.

This checklist for pets will help you prepare for nearly any situation, from power outages to powerful storms, and more.

Create a Plan for Pets

You may have an emergency plan for the humans in your house, but do you know where your pets should go in a disaster — or how to get them there?

Make an Evacuation Plan

Getting your pet out of the house may not be much of a challenge on a regular day. But when you’re also trying to round up family members, grab supplies, and call an emergency contact, you may not have much time to grab your pet’s supplies and coax them into a carrier. To make things as easy as possible, you should have a clear plan and put everything you need — like leashes, carriers, and comforting toys — in an easily accessible place.

When creating an evacuation plan for everyone in your household, decide which family member will be responsible for the pets and how you’ll get them into the car safely. Then, determine how you’ll get to your destination. FEMA recommends practicing the evacuation plan with your pets, so they’re comfortable getting into their carrier or harness quickly and taking a car ride out of town.

Identify Safe Places for Pets to Stay

During an emergency, you may be able to seek shelter in a hotel or community center, but your pets may need different accommodations. The American Red Cross recommends asking nearby pet boarding facilities, animal shelters, and friends if they can provide a temporary home for your pets during a disaster and creating a list with their phone numbers. You can also check if any hotels along your evacuation route are pet-friendly.

Choose a Friend or Neighbor as a Backup Caretaker

If your area is affected by a disaster when you’re at work, school, or somewhere else away from home, you may not be able to return to your pets. Instead, suggests asking nearby neighbors or friends who may be home if they would be willing to care for your pet until it’s safe to return. Make sure your backup caretakers have a key or code to your home, access to supplies, and a safe way to evacuate your pet, if necessary.

Find a Safe Place at Home for Pets to Shelter in Place

It may be safest to stay in your home during certain disasters, like tornados, short power outages, winter storms, and earthquakes. The Humane Society recommends storing emergency supplies for your pet in a safe room where you can all stay together, so you have everything ready for a shelter-in-place order. Pet-proof the room ahead of time to help ensure pets can’t hide in unsafe areas or access hazardous cleaners, chemicals, or tools.

Get Your Pet Microchipped and Use an ID Tag

If you and your pet get separated during an emergency, a microchip and ID tag can help ensure a speedy reunion.

If your pet isn’t microchipped, the American Veterinary Medical Association suggests taking them to a veterinarian to get one implanted. Your vet can also scan for a microchip if you’re unsure whether your pet already has one. Make sure to register a new microchip with an up-to-date name, phone number, and address. If your pet’s existing chip has old information attached, you may have to contact the microchip manufacturer to update your profile.

Your pet should also wear a collar with an ID tag since their rescuer may not have access to a microchip scanner in an emergency. With a Ring Pet Tag, anyone who finds your pet can scan the engraved QR code, automatically triggering a notification that your pet has been found.

Scanning the QR code will also show your Pet Profile, so the rescuer can access relevant details about your pet that may help them provide care until you take them home. From there, they can anonymously contact you in the Ring App to arrange a reunion. Since rescuers can get in touch without a phone number, you don’t have to worry about keeping your personal information up-to-date — and if you do need to make changes, you can update your Pet Profile with a few taps.

Make a Pet Disaster Preparedness Kit

disaster preparedness kit

Whether your pets hunker down at home or stay with a family member out of town, they’ll need supplies to help keep them safe and healthy until the disaster passes. Here are some essentials to include in your pet disaster preparedness kit, according to the CDC:

  • A two-week supply of food and water for each animal
  • A two-week supply of medications with instructions for administering
  • Food and water bowls
  • Can opener for wet food
  • Pet first-aid kit
  • Cat litter and litter box (if applicable)
  • Cleaning supplies, like plastic bags, paper towels, and disinfecting spray
  • Collar and harness or leash
  • Travel carrier or crate
  • Familiar toys
  • Current photos of you and your pet(s)
  • Vaccination records and vet documents
  • Copies of ownership or adoption records
  • A description of each pet
  • Feeding schedules and instructions for each animal
  • Prescriptions for medications
  • Microchip information
  • Your contact information
  • Waterproof containers to store documents and food
  • Know How to Stay Informed

    Things can change at any moment during a disaster. To learn about the current conditions and any new evacuation or shelter-in-place orders, you should listen and check for updates regularly. According to FEMA, the radio and TV news channels are good sources for the latest instructions and special considerations for people with pets.

    You can also check the Neighbors App for the latest information and see if people in your community may need help. You’ll see real-time updates from local and national agencies, and your neighbors can share hyper-local details or even footage of the current situation. When you see a severe weather warning or other emergency alert, you can round up your pets right away and stay tuned for further instructions. The Humane Society advises putting leashes on dogs and cats in carriers at the first sign of an emergency.

    With the Neighbors App, you can also ask for help from your neighbors during a disaster. For example, if you run out of cat litter or dog food, you can post to see if someone in your community has extra supplies. And if you get separated from your pet during an evacuation, you can quickly generate a Lost Pet Post from your Pet Profile to get the news out to neighbors.

    Download the Neighbors App now to connect with your neighbors and help prepare for potential disasters.

    Click to open Neighbors App in App Store. Click to open Neighbors App in Google Play Store. Ring icon
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