Protect Your Pets

Protect Your Pets

Pets are important family members. During an emergency, pets may become frightened and hide, sometimes becoming lost or trapped. Whether you are staying put or evacuating, having a pet emergency plan and kit and practicing for emergencies will help to ensure the health and safety of these important family members. If you evacuate your home, do not leave your pets behind. Pets rely on us to care for their needs, if we are not there, the likelihood of survival is low.

Prepare Your Pets Guide - Prepared BC

Like every other member of your family, pets deserve the protection and security of emergency preparation.

Before an Emergency
If you must evacuate your home, it’s always best to take your pets.

  • Pets are vulnerable when an emergency occurs.
  • Keep your pet’s shots current and know where the records are. Most kennels require proof of current rabies, distemper and kennel cough immunization to accept pets. It is a good idea to keep these papers with the other documents you would carry if you need to evacuate.
Contact motels and hotels in communities outside of your area to find out if they will accept pets in an emergency. If your plans are to evacuate to the home of a friend or family, ask if you can bring your pets.

Here is a checklist of the items to include in an emergency kit for your pet or service animal. It is ideal to check the kit twice a year to restock and make sure food, water and medication are fresh.

During an Emergency

  • Bring your pets inside immediately. Animals sometimes sense severe weather changes and might run away to hide. Never leave pets outside or tied up during a storm.
  • If you must evacuate, take your pets, activate your emergency plan, and bring your emergency supply kit.
  • Separate pets for their safety.
  • Cover bird cages with cloth.

After an Emergency

  • In the first few days after the event, leash your pets when they go outside and always maintain close contact. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered, and your pet may get confused or lost. Dangerous animals may be brought into the area with floods, and the stress can make wild animals dangerous. Downed power lines are also a hazard for pets.
  • The behaviour of your pets may change after an emergency. Normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive. Watch your animals closely.
  • For more help in managing your pet’s behaviour during this transition time, contact your veterinarian.

Domestic Pets

Food and water
Always have a two week supply of your pet's normal food on hand plus some additional canned and dry food (in case you come across other pets in need). Keep an emergency water supply on hand for your pets.
Keep your pet's licence current and make sure a collar identification tag is worn at all times. Consider having your pet micro chipped or tattooed for quick identification of owner.
Train your pet to enter its carrier at your command. One way to train is to feed treats in the carrier and sound a bell at the same time. Repeat this process for several days. Continue to do this routine often enough to keep it fresh in your pet's mind. This will prove very helpful in locating a frightened pet. Train your dog to come on command.
Contact list
Have the contact info for local animal control agencies and SPCA, and pet boarding kennels on your emergency contact list. Also, a list of pet-friendly hotels will help in case reception centres and group lodging do not accept pets.
Neighbourhood planning
Get to know your neighbours and their pets. Make sure you have contact information (daytime, evening and emergency) for everyone and make sure you have talked about appropriate arrangements for caring for each other's pets if something happens while you or your neighbours are not at home.
Pet first aid kit
For pets on medication, store a two-week supply, remembering to follow your veterinarian's instruction regarding storing medicine.
Additional supplies
A litter box for cats and a supply of cat litter, grooming brush and pooper-scooper; transport kennel for a dog or cat (there are collapsible wire cages and soft-sided carriers if you are short on space), pet beds and toys.
Pet file
Create a pet file which includes veterinarian contact information, copies of dog license, vaccination records, contact information of friends who may be able to house your pets for short periods, a recent photo and other identification information.

Non-Domestic Pets

Non domestic animals, including horses, require their own emergency plans. Visit BC SPCA for information pertaining to disaster preparedness for farm animals.