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Preparing Your Pets for Disasters & Emergencies

At BISSELL Pet Foundation, we are acutely aware of how natural and human-made emergencies impact pets. Our partner organizations count on BPF to respond with lifesaving solutions when disasters and emergencies strike. But disaster preparedness isn’t just for shelters and rescues. As pet owners, it’s our responsibility to plan for the worst to ensure our pets have the best possible outcome during a crisis.

In honor of September as National Preparedness Month, we want to help you plan to keep your pets safe during disasters such as fires, floods, and other life-threatening emergencies. These events can happen anywhere, at any time. As pet owners, we must prepare in advance to give our family (both human and animal) the best outcome possible.

Emergencies come in all forms. Some may require a temporary absence from your home, while others may involve a permanent evacuation. Preparing for various scenarios will help you act quickly when disaster strikes. Here are some helpful tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help you prepare:

1. Make a Plan

Creating a plan for you and your pets will minimize stress and worry during an emergency. It’s important to remember that if it isn’t safe for you to stay in your home during an emergency, it’s not safe for your pets. If your local officials ask you to evacuate, your pet should evacuate too!

Prepare your pet’s evacuation plan. Evacuating with a pet can be difficult due to many public shelters and hotels not allowing pets. Make a list of safe places where you can take your pets before an emergency happens.

Include your pets in evacuation drills. Get your pets comfortable entering carriers or calming or getting into a vehicle with minimal stress.

Choose designated caregivers. Prepare a plan with your friends, family, or neighbors to make sure someone is available to care for or evacuate your pet if you cannot.

Microchip your pet. Get your pet microchipped and ensure that your phone number and address are up-to-date. It’s also helpful to include an emergency contact.

Use your local resources. Your local emergency management office or animal shelter/control office may have additional resources specific to your area for disaster and emergency prep for your pets.

2. Build an Emergency Kit for Your Pet 

Gather items for your pet’s basic survival. FEMA recommends having two kits, one larger kit if you are sheltering in place and one lightweight version if you need to evacuate. Review your kits regularly to ensure the contents.

1. Food. Several days of food should be kept in an airtight container.

2. Water.

3. Medicine.

4. First aid kit.

5. Collar with ID tag and a harness or leash.

6. Traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier. One for each pet is best.

7. Grooming items.

8. Sanitation needs such as a litterbox, poop bags and a disinfecting spray.

9. A picture of you and your pet together. This is important in case you and your pet become separated.

10. Familiar items such as toys and bedding. 

3. Stay Informed

Be sure to bring your pet indoors at the first warning or sign of a storm or disaster. Pay attention to the alerts sent by state and local officials during emergencies. Whether being told to shelter in place or evacuate, it’s important to act accordingly.

Help spread the word to keep pets safe by preparing for emergencies. Share the graphic below on your social media. ❤️

Learn how to keep your pets safe during emergencies