Although Orange County residents love their pets, these lovable creatures are often the last on our list when we plan for emergencies. Since our pets completely depend on us for care, we must prepare for them along with our families.
First, assemble an animal emergency supply kit with food, medicine, treats, sanitation supplies, toys and other equipment. Create “go bags” for your pets that are stored in each vehicle. Here are several additional steps you can take to prepare to care for your pets in an emergency.
- Plan to take your pets with you if you must evacuate. If you leave, you may not be allowed to return home for days and your pets will not be able to fend for themselves against exposure, starvation, predators, contaminated food or water or accidents.
- Consider including stress-relieving items in your emergency kit such as calming collars since the disaster may cause considerable emotional distress to your pets.
- Most evacuation shelters will not accept pets, except for service animals, and animal boarding facilities will fill up fast during disaster. Make prior arrangements to ensure your pet has a safe place to stay. Research “pet friendly” hotels and motels and ask if your pet would qualify to stay (especially if you have multiple pets).
- Make sure people can identify your pet in case of disaster. Your pet should always wear current identification tags, and ask your veterinarian to have your pet micro-chipped.
- Disasters may occur if you aren’t home, so develop a pet care buddy system with neighbors, friends or family to evacuate your pets. Meet at a designated location and make sure they have all of your phone numbers.
- Find evacuation plans for Orange County animals.
- Browse through the FEMA Disaster Guide for Pets.
- Watch a pet safety video about keeping your pets safe in a disaster.
- Learn all about pet emergency planning from Community Animal Response & Evacuation Group (CARE).
- Download a pet disaster plan from OC Animal Care.