September is National Emergency Preparedness Month: Pet Parents Reminded to Include Pets in Emergency Plans

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September is National Emergency Preparedness Month
Pet Parents Reminded to Include Pets in Emergency Plans

(Fairfax, VA) – As September’s National Emergency Preparedness Month nears, Pet Parents are reminded to include pets in emergency preparedness plans for you and your family. Two-thirds (67%) of pet-owning households would refuse to evacuate if they could not take their pets with them (American Kennel Club survey). Some emergencies may require you to hunker down at home or where you are (shelter-in-place, SIP) and take care of your pet without being able to go outside. Some emergencies may require you to leave or evacuate you home. The following are some tips to help you begin to prepare your pet family in case of emergency.


Pet Emergency Plan

Natural & man-made disasters come in different ways including home fires, severe summer or winter storms, hurricanes, floods, chemical spills; most without much warning. These incidents do occur in the Washington Metro area. “The time to prepare is over when the time of need or emergency arrives.” The first step in preparing for an emergency is to have a plan for the human members of your home. If you are unprepared to take care of yourself, you’re reducing the chances you’ll be able to care for you pets. Three basic steps can save your life and the life of your pet. 1. Plan. 2. Prepare. 3. Practice! Don’t put off getting started, your life and your pet’s life could depend on it!

  1. Plan: The two important elements of your emergency response plan checklist are to:- Move your pets safely. Determine how you can safely evacuate all your pets in a controlled manner.
    – Find emergency shelter. Know in advance where you are going to house your pets temporarily.

    A well designed emergency response plan checklist will guide you through gathering the information and supplies you’ll need to evacuate quickly and safely. Start with window alert stickers displaying “Animal(s) Inside” to let emergency personnel know there are animals in the home that need to be rescued. The label can be homemade.

    Form agreements with neighbors to help each other in case you can’t get home to take care of the pet. Designate someone to evacuate your pet if you aren’t home at the time of an emergency. Make a list of pet friendly hotels. Not all pet friendly hotels will take cats, large dogs, or other animals, so check before adding them to your list. Know which evacuation shelters allow pets and what is required.

  2. Prepare: Put together an emergency kit with first-aid and other essentials. It should include a list of emergency phone numbers such as your vet and local animal shelter. Keep copies of ownership papers and a picture of you with your pet so you can prove they are yours. The pet should have a collar with ID. Also microchip and record, with your vet and pet care provider, the microchip information. Take a copy of your pet’s medical records including updated shots. Most boarding kennels, vets and shelters will require them before taking your animal.Take enough food, treats, water, medicine, litter, bags for animal waste and other consumables to last 3 days. And your pet will need bowls. Don’t forget your pet’s small, quiet, favorite toy or towel. Pack in one sturdy container that you can easily and quickly “grab & go”. Shelters require you to provide your pet’s needs and take care of your pet. Most situations require you must stay at that shelter where your pet is sheltered.
  3. Practice: If you have a neighbor designated to care for your pet in an emergency, make sure your neighbor practices walking your dog or caring for your other pet. Be sure they know where the leash, carrier and emergency supplies are located. Annually check and rotate supplies, check that all information is still accurate including pet friendly hotels.

For information on Emergency Pet Preparedness and Pet First Aid classes, visit

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