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Disaster preparedness should factor in your pet

American Kennel Club on

Published in Cats & Dogs News

Hurricane season has begun. Being prepared is essential during an emergency to be sure that everyone, pets included, is cared for. The American Kennel Club shares the following tips to keep your dog safe in the event that disaster strikes.

• Emergency supplies. Put together an easily portable and waterproof tote with emergency supplies and provisions that you can easily access from your home or grab-and-go if you need to evacuate. Fill waterproof containers with a week’s supply of food, medications and drinking water. Also include a backup leash, collar and ID tag, as well as food and water bowls.

• Organize information. Update your mobile phone to set up a file with pictures of your medical records from the veterinarian, vet contact information, microchip ID number, rabies tags and your pet. Include a picture with you and your pet together. This way you have all necessary information in a safe place and ready to go in case of an emergency. The AKC also recommends permanently identifying your pet with a microchip enrolled in a pet recovery service, like AKC Reunite. Visit to learn more about microchips.

• Vital information on microchipping. If you don’t know whether your pet’s microchip is enrolled in a recovery service, you can look it up on the American Animal Hospital Association’s website: You can enroll any brand of microchip with AKC Reunite for a one-time charge with no annual or renewal fees.

If you don’t know your pet’s microchip ID number, ask your vet; or take your pet into a local Banfield location and ask for a complementary scan of your pet’s microchip ID number. Additionally, have an out-of-town alternate contact on your pet’s microchip record since you and your pet can get separated during emergencies and local power and phone lines can be impacted.


• Be prepared. The safest place for your pet is with you. Be prepared to take your pets with you should there be an evacuation by having a sturdy, safe, comfortable crate or carrier ready for transporting. Make sure your pets are wearing collars with securely fastened, up-to-date information. Bring your pets inside so that you won’t have to search for them if you need to evacuate quickly.

• Evacuations. Most evacuations last only a few days, but you may not be able to return to your home quickly. You should always follow evacuation orders, and it's worth saying again that the safest place for your pet is with you. However, you can contact your local emergency management organization (usually run out of your county or city) for temporary emergency pet sheltering solutions/locations if you do not have a place to evacuate with your pet. After Hurricane Katrina, the Pets Act was passed, requiring municipalities to have a plan in place to evacuate people with their pets. If you plan to go to a hotel or shelter, call ahead to confirm your pet is welcome.

AKC Reunite disaster relief trailers. AKC Reunite donates AKC pet disaster relief trailers, supplies and trailer deployment training materials to local emergency management teams so communities can be prepared to help people with their pets when disaster strikes. Although our resources are limited during an emergency, if you are a nonprofit organization in need of assistance with the sheltering of displaced animals during a declared disaster, please contact us at, and we can see how we may be able to help.

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