Laurie Anne Walden, DVM
What would you do with your pets if you had to evacuate? Hurricanes, tornadoes, and winter storms can affect any part of North Carolina. Fires and other unexpected events can also displace families with little or no warning.
Plan ahead so you can take your pets with you. Don't leave them behind except as a last resort (and never leave them chained outdoors).
Bring pets indoors at the first warning of a storm. You might need to be able to find them quickly.
Emergency shelters might not be able to accept animals. Locate places you can go with your pets in advance. Consider alternatives to public shelters:
Have a leash, harness, or carrier handy for every pet in your household. Be sure you have as many cat carriers as cats. Secure and comfortable crates (large enough to stand up and turn around in) are useful for transporting dogs and might be required at co-located shelters.
Prepare an emergency kit and consider keeping a larger set of supplies at home in case you have to shelter in place (for example, during an ice storm). The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends including these items in a pet emergency kit:
Discuss your evacuation and pet care plans with friends, neighbors, or relatives. Try to arrange to have someone care for your pets or evacuate them if you can't.
A study of an evacuation after a chemical spill in Wisconsin showed that 60% of dogs and cats were not evacuated. Cats were only half as likely as dogs to be evacuated. Failure to evacuate cats was associated with not having cat carriers. Planning for evacuation in advance will help you avoid this kind of logistical problem.
For more information
The recommendations in this article are from FEMA (also see this brochure [PDF]), the Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, NC State University, the NC Department of Public Safety, and the NC Department of Agriculture [PDF].
August 31, 2017
Photo by Iler Stoe