Get Your Pet Out of the Home in an Emergency

Edited by Train Wreck, Eng, VisiHow

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Emergency home evacuations include pets. If your pet is a family member, then there are no pet emergency excuses. Your pet trusts you, and we're here to help you get pet emergency education so you know what to do. We'll discuss pet emergency hot lines, kits, and what to do in different situations. In addition, we'll go over how you can help first responders, police and other emergency response personnel know that your pet is safe in the event of a disaster. Remember, having a pet is a responsibility. That means it's up to you to take care of your animal companion in an emergency.

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Take Care of Your Pets in an Emergency

While disaster can strike at any time, as in the case of a home fire, earthquake, or similar catastrophe, safety is no accident. Being prepared in advance can mean the difference between life and death for you and your family, which includes your pets.

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  1. 1
    Have an ID for Your Pet
    The best thing you can do is to get a microchip for your pet. In the absence of a chip, you should have a collar with tags that can be used to identify your pet. If you have to leave your pet behind, it will help you be reunited later if your pet is rescued by emergency response or Red Cross[1] personnel.
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  2. 2
    Get a Pet Rescue Alert Sticker
    One of the most important things you can do is get a sticker that lets others know your pets are safe, which can be ordered from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)[2]. In the awful circumstance that you're unable to get your pets out of the home and to safety, this lets police and emergency workers know there is a pet that needs to be rescued. If you were able to save your pet too, then you can write on the sticker that your pet is safe. It also helps to let them know whether any pets may be dangerous, such as a guard dog, of if they're extremely docile and don't bite, like a family Labrador.
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  3. 3
    Plan a Safe Pet Shelter in Advance
    Sometimes you will be able to rescue a pet, but maybe you won't be able to take your pet with you to a shelter where there are other people. In cases like this, it's important to be aware of pet and animal shelters nearby that can provide a safe and temporary home for your pet. Knowing where to take your animal companion in an emergency means being prepared to take care of everyone. It only takes a few minutes to make the necessary calls, and then you can have peace of mind that your pet is safe.
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  4. 4
    Be Aware of Weather Conditions
    Don't be fooled by all that long hair your dog or cat may have. The fact is that an outside animal has a very different fur coat than an indoor animal. That means if your power goes out in the freezing cold and you have to evacuate, your pet isn't going to be able to fend for itself all that well. The same holds true for extremely hot places, such as Arizona in the summer. If you are accustomed to an air conditioner, so is your pet. They can die in the extreme heat of some conditions and shouldn't be left to fend for themselves.
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  5. 5
    Arrange a Pet Caretaker
    In some cases there might not be a shelter that can take your pet, or you may not be able to afford it. In cases like this, especially for the elderly, it's a good idea to have someone who can take care of your pet. This can be a family member, close friend, or even an understanding neighbor. Many times someone isn't prepared for an emergency, and makes a trip to the hospital only to realize that their pet is trapped in the home without access to food or water. Be prepared, and take care of your pets as well as yourself.
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  6. 6
    Know The Locations of Emergency Veterinarian Centers
    In the event your pet is injured in an emergency, you will need to get them medical attention. Having the phone numbers of veterinarians on hand can mean the difference between life and death for a loved pet. Even if you are unable to reach a veterinarian, you can at least call and get advice over the phone. This can help you save your pet until you are able to safely reach a veterinarian.
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  7. 7
    Prepare an Emergency Pet Kit
    This can range from the worst case scenario, where there is food and water your pet can access, to a less disastrous situation where you've got things ready to take with you for your pet. Simply taking your pet along in the event of an emergency doesn't mean you're taking care of them. Pet food, medicines, and even collars and leashes, or toys, are all things you should consider taking with you for your pet. As scary as an emergency is for you, your pet will have no real idea of what's happening. Having some security items or a favorite toy in addition to food will go a long way towards comforting them and you.
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  8. 8
    Stay Safe At Home
    In the event you stay home during an emergency, make sure it's safe for everyone. Sometimes a normally docile and friendly pet can be terrified by natural disasters or other conditions that may not be as frightening for you. These kinds of emergencies can cause your otherwise friendly pet to bite. Some extreme examples of this might be an earthquake, hurricane, or tornado. In these cases your pet may be injured, and your efforts to help may result in you being bitten, leaving you both injured and in need of medical attention.
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  9. 9
    Make Sure You Have a Pet Shelter
    Just in case you're not able to take care of your pet, make sure they also have a shelter. This is especially true of colder climates, where you might have to leave for an extended period, or get stranded in a snow storm for days. By having a shelter, which the Ready Gov site recommends[3], you will be able to make sure your pet is safe if you're not there to take care of him or her.
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Tips and Suggestions

Remember that emergency response plans are not just for you. They also include pets[4], and should take care of everyone.

  • Large animals require special care. This means goats, sheep, cattle, pigs, and even horses. Any animal too large to be safely transported in an emergency needs to have shelter and food.
  • Remember that having some form of identification for your pets is critical. You need to make sure your pets are safe. If you can't, or you aren't sure, then someone else will have to. That person will need to know about your pets from their ID tags.

References on Pet Emergencies

  1. Red Cross
  2. ASPCA
  3. Ready.Gov
  4. Humane Society

See more articles on emergencies: Plan for an Emergency, Call an Ambulance, Give First Aid, and Call the Police.

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Article Info

Categories : Animals & Pets

Recent edits by: Eng, Train Wreck

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