Are you and your pets prepared for disaster?

Fewer than half of pet owners have a disaster preparedness plan

June is National Pet Preparedness Month, making this a perfect time to discuss how to keep your pet safe and secure should disaster strike. A recent survey conducted by the ASPCA found that 83% of pet owners live in communities that face disasters and 23% have evacuated due to a disaster. Unfortunately, not even half of respondents said they have a disaster preparedness plan in place.

Hurricanes and tropical storms garner much of the attention in Hampton Roads, but it is worth remembering that other threats exist – ones that will give little to no warning. Tropical weather systems can be tracked days, even weeks, in advance. Other events like tornadoes and house fires come on suddenly, giving you no time to respond.
Microchipping your pet increases the chances of reunion should you become separated during an emergency. Panko (left), Mead (right), and all the animals at the Adoption Center come microchipped. Come meet Mead and Panko today!
Prep Your Pet

Separation of you and your pet can happen in the immediate aftermath of disaster. To increase the chances of being reunited with your pet you should make sure they are wearing ID tags with current contact information. But collars can break and ID tags lost. Consider microchipping your pet for an added layer of security. All animals adopted from the Norfolk SPCA are microchipped and registered. Check regularly that your contact information in the microchip registration is accurate and up-to-date.

Make a Plan

Disasters can strike swiftly and suddenly. Have concrete plans of action for all contingencies. Go over these plans with your family regularly and make sure they are understood.

You may choose to shelter at home during an emergency, or you may be unable to leave home due to conditions outside. When sheltering in place pick an interior room away from any doors and windows. To guard against the loss of water, fill up bathtubs and sinks with water.

Your place of refuge following evacuation may not permit animals. Do not assume you will be able to stay with your pet following an evacuation, and do not fall victim to myths like this one circulated in 2017. You may be tasked with locating a temporary caregiver. Identify facilities that may provide emergency shelter opportunities as well as hotels outside of your immediate area that accepts pets. Friends and family members who live outside your immediate area may also be an option. 
A properly-packed emergency bag will make life significantly easier on pets like Kobe (left) and Sandy (right) and owners alike. Come to the Adoption Center to meet Kobe and Sandy today!
Pack an Emergency Bag

Of the 23% of pet owners who have evacuated from a disaster, 60% were away from their home between one to three days. Another 31% spent four to seven days out of their home. Having a properly packed emergency bag will make your pet’s life significantly easier while you are away from home.

Essentials for all emergency bags include:
  • First aid kit
  • 3-7 day’s worth of food
  • Feeding dishes and water bowls
  • Extra collars/harnesses and leashes
  • Blankets
  • Photocopies and/or USB flash drive with pet’s medical records
  • 2-week supply of pet’s medicines stored in a waterproof container
  • Week’s worth of bottled water per pet
  • Recent photos of your pets
  • Cat owners should also pack litterbox supplies

Food, water and medical supplies should be rotated out every two months to ensure freshness and effectiveness. Consider keeping your pet’s emergency bag storied inside a carrier and near an exit.

For more information on disaster preparedness, check out these links: