Storm Prep for Pets
More extreme-weather events means four-legged friends can get left out in the cold. Here's how to keep them safe
From blizzards that knock out power (and heat!) to rain-swollen river flooding and mudslides, severe storms are a year-round concern. You've made an emergency "go bag" for all the people in your family—but what about your pets? Natural disasters place animals in harm's way, too: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals assisted 30,000 pets in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, according to Dick Green, EdD, senior director of disaster response for the organization.
Here are a few precautionary measures to ensure your pet's safety.
Make Identification Easy
Because you and your furry friend could get separated during a disaster, it's a good idea to have him microchipped. A capsule about the size of a grain of rice, containing a serial number, is implanted under the skin between your pet's shoulder blades; the serial number is registered in a national database so that he can be identified should he get lost. You also receive a tag for your pet's collar with the chip number and registry phone number. Most vets and animal shelters will implant microchips for a small fee (about $45).
Be Prepared for Evacuation
Put together a go bag for your pet, too, suggests Leili Khalessi of RedRover, a nonprofit animal-welfare organization. It should include a one-week supply of food, water, and medications, plus bowls and a can opener. Also have a spare ID tag, to record new contact info, and a pet first-aid kit. (For a detailed checklist of what to pack, visit The Humane Society.)
See more: 24 Essentials to Keep in Your Car
Have an Appropriate Carrier at the Ready
"In our garage, we have a labeled portable kennel or crate for every animal in the house," says Green. On the top of each carrier, duct-tape a clear envelope containing a copy of medical and vaccination records and a picture of the animal. Review emergency information on your local government's website, and search in advance of an impending storm for pet-friendly accommodations. Khalessi recommends monitoring social media for up-to-the-minute shelter information.
Don't Leave Home Without 'Em
If nothing else, make sure each pet is wearing a collar and tags, and never leave animals behind. Says Green: "If people would do those two things, we could greatly increase the number of families reunited with their pets."