Disaster Preparedness Tips for Pets & Livestock
Your pet needs you even more when disaster strikes
When disaster strikes a community, essential services are often unavailable and families are frequently displaced. So, what can you do to ensure your pet is cared for during and after a disaster?
Preparation for pets
- NEVER leave animals behind. Know a safe place where your pets can go if you need to evacuate or seek shelter. Evacuation destinations may include a friend or family member’s home, going to a pet-friendly hotel, or temporarily housing your pet(s) at a boarding facility. Plan multiple routes to your safe destination.
- Always keep your pets’ vaccinations up-to-date.
- Be sure that all ID tags are properly affixed to your pet’s collar and that they have your current contact information, including cell number(s).
- Update your microchip registrations and pet license information to ensure its current and consider including the name and contact information of an out-of-area contact just in case you are unreachable in a disaster zone.
- Prepare a pet emergency kit complete with leashes, collars, extra ID tags, water, food, medications, sanitation materials (i.e. litter and litter box), health/immunization records, and photos to prove ownership. Keep a minimum of 3 days supplies; ideally have 7-10 days supplies.
- Have portable carriers large enough for your pets to stand-up and turn around in ready to go at a moment’s notice. Practice loading cats and dogs in pet carriers before you have to.
- Prepare a pet first-aid kit, including your veterinarian’s contact information and an authorization to treat your pets.
- Don’t leave children or pets in vehicles. Don’t leave pets tethered or crated without you.
- Uncertainty and change in the environment affect animals, presenting new stresses and dangers. Your pet’s behavior may change after a crisis, becoming more aggressive or self-protective. Be sensitive to these changes and keep more room between them, other animals, children or strangers. Animals need comforting, too. Comfort your pet with kind words and lots of pats or hugs. If possible, provide a safe and quiet environment, even if it is not their own home.
Preparation for livestock
- Post emergency contact numbers at your barn and/or on your pasture fence.
- Be sure that your animals have some form of identification. For some animals, like horses, consider having a microchip implanted and always ensure your contact information is up-to-date with the microchip company.
- Have sufficient transportation available for all your livestock or know where to obtain it. Train your livestock how to board the vehicles before an emergency.
- Create a list of neighbors within a 100-mile radius of your home who would be willing to board your livestock if you are forced to evacuate.
- Form agreements with neighboring ranches and farms to help each other with disaster preparation and evacuations.
- Know organizations in your area that are prepared to rescue and house displaced livestock.
- Involve your family and neighbors in establishing an evacuation plan for animals in barns and outlying buildings.
- Have a supply of feed at a separate location, which could be air-dropped if the animals become stranded.
- Make up a kit with leads, halters, equine and bovine first aid kits, quieting hoods for easy transport, and water.
- Keep photos and a copy of your ownership papers or brands with you at all times in case you are separated from your livestock.