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Disaster Planning for Your Pet

Does your emergency plan include your pets? In an emergency your pet will not be able to rely on its instincts to protect and fend for him/herself. Your pet depends on you for its safety. Here are some things to help you be prepared in case of an emergency or if you need to evacuate due to a fire, natural disaster, or other unforeseen event.

Make sure your pet has proper identification – While a collar and tag can be helpful they can easily come off and become lost. In addition, tattoos are not a reliable way of locating an owner. For these reasons a permanent microchip is recommended.  If your pet is already microchipped be sure that both your information and your emergency contact information is up to date.  If you are unsure to whom your chip is registered, we can scan your pet and let you know who to contact.  (there is no charge for this service)

If you evacuate, take your pets   If you think you might need to evacuate be sure to keep your pets indoors where you can get them ready and leave in a hurry if needed.  Pets that are left behind in an evacuation can easily become injured, lost or killed.  It is important to have a plan in place and to have a carrier that is large enough for your pet to be able to stand and turn around in and/or a secure leash ready.  Emergency shelters do not always allow pets. Therefore, it is important to plan ahead and have a friend, pet friendly hotel, or boarding facility picked out in advance.

Get and use a rescue alert sticker – In case you are not home when a disaster strikes, it is important for rescue workers to know what type and how many pets are in the house.  You can obtain a free window cling from ASPCA or your local fire department.  


Pack an emergency kit for your pets –  Keep items in a waterproof bag in a backpack or satchel that is easy to grab.  Some key items to include are….

  •  current picture of your pet
  •  vaccine records and current rabies certificate
  •  medications (remember to rotate regularly so they do not expire)
  •  food and water for 3-5 days as well as bowls (rotate food supply as well)
  •  plastic bags for waste disposal, small litter box and litter for cats
  •  emergency phone numbers including your veterinarian or emergency clinic
  •  favorite toy or treat for comfort and a small blanket to sleep on
  •  first aid items
  •  authorization for medical treatment if you can not be with your pet


When you return home keep your pet on a leash until it re familiarizes itself with any unusual smells.  Remember your pet will likely be frightened just like you and need comforting.


For more information and a more detailed list for your emergency kit and first aid kit please visit the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association

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