Helpful Tips to Protect Your Animals

Pet owners should include their animals in their Family Disaster Planning.

Prepare an emergency kit for your pets. Include a photo of yourself with your pet, collars and leashes, a three-to-five-day supply of food, a can opener, bottles of water, bowls, litter boxes, plastic bags, and a week’s supply of medications (with instructions) that your pet may be taking (in case you and your pet are separated).

Have copies of your pets’ vaccinations, medical records, prescriptions and your veterinarian’s phone number.

Typically, only service animals are allowed inside a public shelter, although in Massachusetts, the State of Massachusetts Animal Response Team (SMART) has made great strides in creating ‘pet-friendly’ sheltering options. Contact your Local Emergency Management Director regarding community animal policies at shelters, as well as other options you may have for sheltering your pets during an emergency.

Make plans ahead of time to take your pet to stay at relatives, friends or a kennel outside the affected area.

Know the locations of pet-friendly hotels and motels.

Prepare a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter your animals in an emergency; include 24-hour phone numbers.

Ask local animal shelters if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets in a disaster. Animal shelters may be overburdened caring for the animals they already have, as well as those displaced by a disaster, so this should be your last resort.

Make sure your pets wear collars with current license and rabies tags, and identification tags that include information on where you will be staying during the emergency.

Use a pet carrier for each of your pets to make transportation easier.

Birds should be transported in a secure travel cage or carrier.  During warm weather, carry a plant mister to mist the birds’ feathers periodically. Do not put water inside the carrier during transport. Provide a few slices of fresh fruits and vegetables with high water content. Have a photo and leg band for identification. Try to keep the carrier in a quiet area. Do not let the birds out of the cage or carrier.

Exotic and dangerous pets are generally dealt with on a case-by-case basis in order to ensure that they are handled, transported and cared for by properly trained personnel and at an appropriate facility. For the safety of their animals, owners of these pets should have advanced planning preparations ready for their pet’s special needs.