American Red Cross shelters cannot accept pets, other than service animals that assist people with disabilities, due to health and safety concerns. Pet owners have a responsibility to make sure that pets are protected and cared for in the event of an emergency.
Plan For Your Pets
- Know which hotels and motels along your evacuation route will accept you and your pets in an emergency. If you learn that you may need to evacuate, you should call ahead for reservations. It’s also always a good idea to ask if no-pet policies could be waived in an emergency.
- Know which friends, relatives, boarding facilities, animal shelters or veterinarians can care for your animals in an emergency. Prepare a list with phone numbers.
- Include your pets in evacuation drills so that they become used to entering and traveling in their carriers calmly.
- Make sure that your pet’s vaccinations are current. Many pet shelters require proof of current vaccinations to reduce the spread of disease.
- Consider having your pet “microchipped” by your veterinarian. Microchipping can help identify your pet you if he or she is separated from you in the event of an emergency.
Make a Kit for Pets
Just as humans require essential items to survive, so do pets. Emergencies can require responding at a moment’s notice and it is critical to have a kit ready for your pet in these situations. Keep a container that is easy to grab-and-go with at least 3 days of survival items for your animal. Your pet’s kit should include:
- Folding bowls
- Cat litter/pan
- Manual can opener
- Pet identification and current photos of your pet for use in the event that they are lost
- Contact information for your pet’s veterinarian
- Keep medical records and behavior problems in waterproof containers
- Pet’s leash, harness and/or carriers to transport pets safely
- Blankets, toys and comfort items
- List of pet boarding locations
Learn First Aid for Your Pets
Knowing what to do in the initial moments of an emergency situation can be critical to your pet’s life. Now owners can equip themselves with pet first aid and CPR skills. American Red Cross Pet First Aid classes give pet owners the skills and confidence necessary to care for pets until they can get to a veterinarian. Register today to learn techniques that could save your pet’s life.
Reference guides are also available to provide quick answers to questions about caring for family dogs and cats. Red Cross Dog First Aid and Cat First Aid manuals come with a 30-minute DVD that features step-by-step instructions on safety procedures, disaster preparedness and dealing with medical emergencies. The manuals also teach pet owners how to:
- Administer medications
- Recognize an emergency
- Perform CPR and first aid
- Stock a pet first aid kit