Animals in Disaster

Wet DogPreparing Your Pets

Preparing your family for disasters includes not only humans, but your animals and pets as well. Many residents in the City of McKinney own pets and would consider them part of the family. Under different circumstances, different plans and actions need to be taken in regard to pets. It is important to take into account everyday emergencies as well as larger scale disasters.

Steps can be taken to protect your pets. Arrange for caretakers or shelters that can take care of your pets during an emergency. Create a pet emergency supply kit to take with you during travel or when leaving your animal with someone else. Make sure your pet is wearing up-to-date ID tags with contact information. You'll increase your chances of being reunited with your lost pet by having him or her microchipped. Remember that during a disaster you may not be able to get home to your pet. If you are able to take your pet with you during a disaster, you may not be able to bring them to a shelter with you. In all cases, never leave your pet behind. If conditions are not okay for you, they are not okay for your pet.

Care of Your Animal in Times of Disaster

  • Get to know your neighbors and have them get to know your pet. Make sure they know your pet’s whereabouts, hiding spots and habits
  • Include your pets in evacuation drills so that they become comfortable entering and traveling in their carriers
  • If your neighbor has pets as well, create a buddy system with them to do the same for their animals in case of an emergency
  • Make sure your neighbor, or a friend, is willing to take your pet in case of an evacuation and plan to communicate and meet in a prearranged location
  • Create a pet emergency supply kit for your pet and put it in an accessible area

Sheltering in Place with Your Pet

When sheltering at home with your pet, make sure the room chosen is pet-friendly in the following ways:

  • Select a safe room, preferably an interior room with no (or few) windows
  • Remove any toxic chemicals or plants
  • Close off small areas where frightened cats could get stuck, such as vents or beneath heavy furniture

Sheltering during an evacuation with Your Pet

  • If accommodations are needed for your pet(s)
    • Contact local veterinary clinics, boarding facilities, and local animal shelters
    • Contact family or friends outside the evacuation area
    • Contact a pet-friendly hotel, particularly along evacuation routes
  • Make plans before disaster strikes for where you and your pets will go. Be aware that pets may not be allowed in local human shelters, unless they are service animals.

Special considerations should also be taken for birds, reptiles and small animals. Find more information about disaster preparedness for these animals on the ASPCA website.