Evacuating with pets? Check out these tips, checklists

Hurricane Evacuation Sign (WCIV)

If you evacuate, take your pets with you.

Never leave your pets behind or tether them to poles or trees, which prevents them from escaping high waters and getting to safe areas.

Tips and checklists for evacuating with pets include:

  • Make sure all pets are wearing ID tags with up-to-date contact information. The The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends micro-chipping your pet as a more permanent form of identification, should collars or tags become lost.
  • Create a portable pet emergency kit with items including medical records, water, water bowls, pet food and your pet’s medications.
  • Choose a designated caregiver, such as a friend or relative outside the evacuation zone, who can take care of your pet in the event you are unable.
  • Prepare your pet for an evacuation: Because disaster situations are stressful, animals may become skittish, which increases the likelihood they will escape and get lost. To prepare your pet for a potential evacuation, get them comfortable with a travel carrier in advance.
  • Help pets develop a positive association with the crate by providing treats and playtime at the conclusion of crate time.
  • Try carrying your pets around the house in the crate or taking a short drive.
  • Prepare your pets by gradually acclimating them to their crates. First, place their food inside an open crate, and eventually have them eat their meals in the crate with the door shut.
  • Download the free ASPCA mobile app, which includes a comprehensive disaster preparedness checklist.

List provided by Dr. Dick Green, Senior Director of Disaster Response for the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team, which responds to both natural disasters and large-scale animal cruelty.

Dr. Green led the ASPCA’s responses to disasters including Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in 2017 where more than 37,000 animals were assisted by the ASPCA, as well as recent wildfires in California and the Kilauea volcano eruption in Hawaii.

In total, Dr. Green has responded to more than 100 domestic and international disasters.

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