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 Taking Care of Pets

Emergency planning should include pets. Be aware that Red Cross disaster shelters cannot accept pets because of health and safety regulations and other considerations. Service animals that assist people with disabilities are the only animals allowed in Red Cross shelters. If your family must go to a shelter or other site away from home, do not leave your pets at home. Instead, create a pet emergency plan in advance.

You may not be home when an evacuation order comes. Find out if a trusted neighbor would be willing to take your pets and meet you at a prearranged location. This person should be comfortable with your pets, know where your animals are likely to be and have a key to your home.

Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to check policies on accepting pets and restrictions on number and size. Ask if “no pet” policies could be waived in an emergency. Or, ask local animal shelters if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets in a disaster. However, animal shelters may be overburdened caring for the animals they already have as well as those displaced by a disaster. Keep a list of “pet friendly” places, including phone numbers, with other emergency information and supplies.

Keep a pet emergency supplies kit with your emergency evacuation kit. Include a carrier box, immunization record, muzzles or leashes, pet food and supplies. Have an ID photo available in case they stray. Make sure all dogs and cats are wearing collars and securely fastened up-to-date identification. Attach the phone number and address of your temporary shelter, if you know it, or of a friend or relative.

Watch a pet preparedness video created by  Dr. Cynthia Otto, a Critical Care Associate Professor, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

Find out more about creating a disaster plan for your pets by visiting any of the following links:

Humane Society

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