Take care of your pets during an emergency.
To be sure you can properly take care of your pet during an emergency, like hurricanes, or during an evacuation, you must plan ahead. If you have to leave your home, take your pet with you if at all possible. You are the best person to take care of your pet. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has stated that if the situation is dangerous for people, it is dangerous for animals, too.
Before you leave, know where you can take your pet. Find out which motels or hotels are "pet friendly" or which ones will accept pets in an emergency. Or plan to go to the house of a friend or relative who will permit you to bring your pet. Before you have to travel, get your pet used to a crate. Familiar surroundings might help ease a pet's anxiety. And getting an animal into a crate for travel will be easier once the animal is used to it. Take pet food, medicines, vaccination records, and information about pet insurance if you have a policy. Assemble all of this into a disaster kit that you can grab as you leave.
Red Cross Shelters and Pets
Red Cross disaster shelters cannot accept pets because of states' health and safety regulations and other considerations. Service animals who assist people with disabilities are the only animals allowed in Red Cross shelters. It may be difficult, if not impossible, to find shelter for your animals in the midst of a disaster, so plan ahead. Do not wait until disaster strikes to do your research.
If you must evacuate, or plan to ride out a hurricane at home, take note of the following tips on taking care of your pets::
- Put all pet medications, first aid kit, and medical records in a waterproof container.
- Use sturdy leashes, harnesses, and/or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that your animals can't escape.
- Carry current photos of your pets in case they get lost.
- Bring food, portable water, bowls, cat litter/pan, and can opener.
- Stay away from the incident site to minimize the risk of contamination.
- Write down information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets.
- Bring pet beds and toys, if easily transportable.
- Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to check policies on accepting pets and restrictions on number, size, and species. Ask if "no pet" policies could be waived in an emergency. Keep a list of "pet friendly" places, including phone numbers, with other disaster information and supplies. If you have notice of an impending disaster, call ahead for reservations.
- Ask friends, relatives, or others outside the affected area whether they could shelter your animals. If you have more than one pet, they may be more comfortable if kept together, but be prepared to house them separately.
- Prepare a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter 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.
A Final Word on Caring For Pets During Emergencies:
If you must evacuate, do not leave your animals behind. Evacuate them to a prearranged safe location if they cannot stay with you during the evacuation period (remember, pets are not allowed in Red Cross shelters). If there is a possibility that a disaster may strike while you are out of the house, there are precautions you can take to increase your pets’ chances of survival, but they are not a substitute for evacuating with your pets. For more information, contact Tangipahoa Parish Animal Services at 985-543-0215.