Evacuating with Pets
Are Your Pets Prepared?
A written disaster plan, particularly in households with pets, can lessen a disaster's impact and save lives! The best recommended plan is to take your pet with you when you have to evacuate. REMEMBER: If it is unsafe for you to remain, it is unsafe for your pet(s) as well. Most public shelters do not allow pets.
Before an Emergency
- Acquire a pet carrier or cage for EACH dog, cat, bird, or small animal. Make sure it is large enough for each pet to comfortably stand up and turn around inside. Exceptions can be made to house more than one animal per carrier but, DO NOT mix different species together. Take time to familiarize your pet(s) in the carrier or crate until it feels secure and comfortable in it.
- Vaccinate your pet(s) yearly. Consult your veterinarian for the necessary vaccinations for each pet. Boarding facilities REQUIRE proof of current vaccinations before boarding animals. Healthy pets have a greater chance of thriving during an emergency.
- Provide identification. The better animals are identified, the greater the chances of reuniting them to their original rightful owners should they become separated. Put current license and rabies tags on a properly fitted collar. Microchipping is an excellent permanent ID. Using more than one ID can also improve the odds. Consider placing an ID tag with an out-of-state contact name & address along with your local information on its collar. Don't forget to place ID on the carriers!
- Photos! Take clear, color photos (frontal, left, and right sides) and store with your pet’s license, health records, and ownership papers in a waterproof carrier to take with you. It is a good idea to have pictures of you with your pet.
Make Your Pet Emergency Kit
- Carrier or portable kennel for each pet
- Paperwork (ownership, registration, photos, health, and vaccination records)
- A leash and properly fitted collars/harness to restrain each pet
- Food and water bowls
- Bottled water (5-7 day supply - double what your pet(s) consumes on an average day)
- Food supply (5-7 day) and manual can opener
- Medications, dosage, and care instructions
- Toys, blankets, and special comfort items
- Cleaner and disinfectant wipes to properly handle wastes
- Newspaper, litter box, litter, scooper, plastic bags for wastes
When a Disaster Is on the Horizon
- Bring your pet indoors when there is an impending threat of danger from storms or other potentially dangerous events. Reassure your pet. Remember, your pets can feel your stress and emotional state.
- If evacuating, call ahead and make reservations at a motel/hotel located away from the threatened area. Ask for information regarding their pet policies (number of pets allowed and fees). Some motels/hotels will change their policies and accept pets in an emergency situation, but call ahead first.
Pet-friendly shelters generally are of two types: a facility designated for animals at some distance from the shelter for people, or a single building for people and pets. However, pet-friendly shelters are very rare. To find out if any are available in your community, contact your local emergency management agency. If none is planned, you might suggest the idea and offer your services as a volunteer to find a solution.
Websites for pet-friendly hotels:
After the Disaster
Provide a safe environment! Clear an area free of debris. Use restraint measures to limit animals to "clean" areas and prevent injury to your animals. Domestic and wild animals will be confused because of the loss of their territorial markers. They will be attracted to poorly discarded food, potentially becoming a threat to family and pets or becoming ill themselves.
If your pet is hurt or lost, listen to emergency broadcasts for an open animal hospital/shelter. Contact the Terrebonne Parish Animal Shelter at (985) 873-6709.