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Disaster Preparation for Pets

The key to survival during a disaster, crisis or emergency is to be as prepared as possible. Here are some quick recommendations from the Director of the Animal Emergency Management Program at Colorado Veterinary Medical Foundation. If you must evacuate your home in a disaster, plan for the worst-case scenario. For example, if you think you may be gone for only a day assume instead that you may not be allowed to return for several weeks. When recommendations for evacuation have been announced follow the instructions of local and state officials.

To minimize evacuation time, take these simple steps beforehand:

  • Store an emergency kit and leashes as close to an exit as possible.
  • Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification. Your pet's ID tag should contain its name, telephone number, and any urgent medical needs. Be sure to also write your pet's name, your name and contact information on your pet's carrier.
  • Microchip your pet as a more permanent form of identification. A microchip is implanted in the animal's shoulder area, and can be read by scanners at most animal shelters.
  • Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home during a crisis.
  • Consider your evacuation route and call ahead to make arrangements for boarding your pet outside of the danger zone at the first sign of disaster.
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