Most emergency shelters cannot accept pets because of health and safety regulations. Service animals for people with disabilities are an exception. Arrange for a neighbour to check on your pets and take care of them if an emergency occurs while you are not at home. Plan ahead for a friend or relative outside the affected area to shelter your animals if necessary. Keep your pets ID tags up to date. Consider having your pet micro-chipped if it is not already.
If you have pets, include them in your emergency planning. Make an emergency getaway bag for each of your pets and include the following:
- sturdy leashes and/or carriers to transport pets
- current photos of your pets in case they get lost
- food and safe drinking water for at least three days
- bowls, cat litter and pan, plastic bags, can opener and pet toys
- information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, immunisation records and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets.
- Bring all pets into the house so that you won't have to search for them if you have to leave in a hurry.
- Do not try and hold on to your pet during the shaking of an earthquake or explosion. Animals instinctively protect themselves and hide where they are safe.
- Animals react differently under stress. The most trustworthy pets may panic, hide, and try to escape or even bite or scratch.
- Outside your home and in the car, keep dogs securely leashed. Transport cats in carriers.
- When you return home, give your pets time to settle back into their routines. Consult your veterinarian if any behavioral problems persist.