How to Create a Disaster Plan for Pets

cat and dog lying next to each other representing how to create a disaster plan for pets

According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 67% of Americans own a pet. Pets are in about 84.9 million American homes! This means many Americans need to establish a disaster plan for pets.

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

Anatole France

How often have you seen news footage of a family not willing to leave their home during a disaster because they cannot take their pets with them? Take the time now to prepare ourselves and our pets for the unknown. Whether you shelter-in-place or evacuate, you need to provide for your pets at a moment’s notice while minimizing stress and anxiety.

A common thread throughout disaster preparedness is to establish a secure, easy-to-access location. If disaster strikes right now, are you prepared to handle, care for, and potentially evacuate your pet quickly and safely? Unfortunately, most Americans are not. Let’s take a deep breath, and establish our plan, now!

Secure Location

Create one secure and easy-to-access location within the home that includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Pet Carrier: This will create a safe, secure home for your animal. The size of your animal will determine if you have the carrier set up in advance. UCM Tip: If your pet is not accustomed to being in a crate or carrier, start training them long before disaster strikes.
  • Leash: Even if you don’t use a leash with your pet, having a leash is critical. You may have to evacuate, and you won’t want to leave your pet in a carrier for an unknown period. UCM Tip: Start teaching your pet proper leash behavior long before disaster strikes.
  • Pet Go Folder: All documentation (most recent vaccination records, photo, ownership papers) must be in a water-resistant container/package and stored in an easily accessible location.
  • Medication: Obtain at least a 72-hour supply of the pet’s current medication. Include a printed list (or copies of veterinary prescriptions) of all medicines the pet currently takes. Keep the medication and documentation in the pet’s Go Folder.
  • Water, Food and Bowls: Keep at least a 72-hour supply of the pet’s food. Ensure you have enough water for your pets and bowls for them to use.
  • Sanitary Supplies: Cats will need access to a litter box. You will need poopy bags for your dogs. Smaller animals (hamsters, rabbits, etc.) will need bedding. Take these extra items into account.

Prepare for a Separation

Although none of us want to imagine it, there is a possibility that we may be separated from our pets. Many evacuation sites establish separate pet shelters specific to various animals. However, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires regional emergency response plans to make reasonable accommodations for service animals. In fact, any information we can provide volunteers and disaster recovery workers will be critical – and valuable to our pets’ well-being.

How Unclutter Me by Lisa Witzleben Can Help

Working with Unclutter Me by Lisa Witzleben to prepare a disaster plan for pets provides you with the following benefits:

  • find the items needed quickly and easily
  • establish an easy-to-access designated area in the home
  • assist you in creating disaster plans

You can do this! Unclutter Me by Lisa Witzleben is here to assist you.

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