JoAnna Lou
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Preparing for an Emergency
Are your pets ready for the worst?
A dog without identification evades rescue workers after Hurricane Ike in 2008.

All of the recent natural disasters has me thinking about preparing for emergencies, including making a plan for the dogs. April also happens to be Pet First Aid Awareness Month, so it's the perfect time to put together a first aid kit and emergency supplies. Here are some tips I came across when I started thinking about my emergency plan.

Think Ahead

  • Put an "Animals Inside" sticker on your door (available free through the ASPCA)
  • Know which hotels along your evacuation route are pet friendly
  • Know which friends, relatives, boarding facilities, animal shelters and/or veterinarians can care for your animals in an emergency

Prepare Your Pets

Gather Supplies

Check out the Red Cross' and the ASPCA's web pages for more resources on creating a pet first aid kit and preparing for an emergency.

Do you have an emergency plan for your pets?


JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by Life Lenses/flickr.

CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Jane | April 25 2011 |

A few months ago, my clothes dryer threatened to catch fire. I called 911 immediately. I had to round up all three dogs to put in our SUV to drive them away from the house. Rounding the dogs up proved to be a huge challenge because two of the dogs are afraid of everything especially if I get excited and need them to respond to me quickly. They will not, they do just the opposite. I must work on getting them into our SUV on cue. These "in case of an emergency" tips are great. Thank you for the information.

Submitted by Anonymous | April 25 2011 |

One area of pet emergency care I don't see discussed but is very, very important is insurance. If you have pet health insurance, sign your pets claim forms IN ADVANCE and give copies to relatives, friends or pet caregivers on your contact list in case you and your pet are injured in the same accident. If you are unconscious, or missing, who gives permission for your pet to be treated and what options to employ? Having a ready document helps make treatment immediate. I keep one in the glove box, along with a notarized document about my personal and pet intentions, along with copies in a fire safe box at home.

Talk to your pet insurance provider. Depending on your auto insurer, you may have pet coverage and that would become your FIRST insured. This is good, meaning that you need less cash up front for pet treatment. Pet insurance ( reimbursable) backs up that insurance. My auto covers $1,000 of pet needs up front, no deductible.
Know your coverage and options.

Submitted by Yodel's Mom | May 4 2011 |

I would just add to the portable emergency kit a muzzle for each animal. In the event your dog is injured, he may be scared and not let anyone touch him, even to assist him. I keep one in my car. I'm not sure how someone else would get it on my dog without sedation in the event we are both injured, but having it increases his chances of getting care when he needs it.

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