It is always better to have something and not need it than to need something and not have it. This applies to many aspects of modern life, but when it comes to natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, or emergencies like wars, having a plan of action is essential. Unexpected situations are likely to happen in life and preparing for them when animals at home is essential to maintain our responsibility and safety over them.

Action plan in the face of a risk situation when there are animals in the home

Understanding that the worst can happen at any time is a good starting point for addressing preparedness for natural disasters or other risky situations with pets. Most people go to great lengths to protect family members or property, but it is also absolutely necessary to protect pets in case of an emergency, since they are in our care.

If you have more than one animal at home, designate a family member for each pet. This person will be tasked with protecting your assigned animal during an emergency. When your family works together, you have a better chance of staying safe and healthy.

How to prepare?

When thinking about pet emergency preparedness, it’s important to recognize that you and your pets can become separated. To reduce the chances of loss or permanent separation, make sure your pets are chipped. Also, updating any contact information that has changed will also be important.

If you must evacuate your home, you can prepare a list of places where you and your pet can go together. Many public evacuation or rescue sites are not equipped to handle our animal companions. Research places that can safely house people and pets. Ask family or friends if their homes are viable options for spending time with them.

How to deal with the situation?

Many emergencies can happen suddenly, with little or no warning. This is especially dangerous if your animals are away from home at the time. For example, at the first suspicion that the weather is changing radically, call your pets inside the house or ask a friend or neighbor to do it in your absence. Pets may tend to hide during terrible weather or even run away in fear.

Prepare a room-refuge in which to remain calm. Store water bottles, trash, garbage bags, leashes/harnesses, canned food, medications, and comfortable pillows and blankets. A flashlight, radio, and pet first aid kit can round out your preparedness kit for natural disasters or pet emergencies.

Other things to consider

It is never recommended to leave pets at home during an emergency. If you leave the house, they better go with you. If you’re not home during an emergency evacuation, your property may be searched by firefighters, EMTs, and other security professionals. A list of pets inside your home, posted near the front door or windows, can help rescue them. Their names, breeds, ages, and specific care instructions could save their lives in an emergency. We always recommend putting your name and contact number on your pet’s collars, so you can be contacted if necessary.

We know the uncertainty and fear that can be caused by both natural disasters and exceptional emergency situations, such as wars. The current situation in some parts of the world can make us reflect on preventive preparation for these emergencies, the best way to take care of ourselves, but also of our furry family members.