Pets are part of the family in National Preparedness Month

ATLANTA, September 21, 2010 – When a disaster first strikes the pet is not always the first thing that you think about, but if planned getting the beloved pet to safety will become second nature. Pets are part of the family and they depend heavily on the owners to keep them safe and for their well-being. 

The American Red Cross is in the midst of National Readiness month and would like to share a few tips on how to keep those cherished animals out of harms way when a disaster strikes. 

Pet helped by the American Red Cross after house fire.


Whenever there is a chance of an evacuation make sure to know which hotels in the area that the evacuation is going to are pet friendly. This will save time and sanity in finding a place to stay for the family and the pet. This will also allow a pre-emptive phone call to be made to get reservations before the hotel runs out of rooms. Also, call and check on the non-pet friendly hotels to see if there is a chance for them to allow sanctuary for animals if there is an emergency. 

Since the family will have their ‘Ready-Kit’ made, also make the pet a ‘Ready-Kit’ so that they will have the necessary items that will help them during this changing time. These kits need to include: leash and collar, food, can opener, food and water bowls, medications and medical papers in waterproof storage, first-aid kit, current photos of you and your pet, information with schedules, behavior problems, medical conditions, and the name of the veterinarian, and last but not least toys.  

Pet helps show what all needs to be a dog ready-kit.


Make sure to have the pet vaccinated at all time, some boarding houses will not allow the pet to board if there is not proof of recent vaccination. The collar tags should also be up-to-date with information about the owner, the pet’s name, and a phone number to reach incase the pet is lost; the owner should also think about getting the pet micro-chipped for an easier way of identifying if lost. 

The normal behavior of a pet may change if it is stressed and in a disaster situation; the gentlest animal in the world could turn aggressive or agitated in a situation of distress can change the pets behavior for a short period of time. If this behavior does not change in a short time-span, seek a veterinarian’s attention. 

Pets are an important part of the family and they can provide comfort and care to the family members. A pet should not be left in a disaster situation if you would not stay there yourself. For more Red Cross tips about pet readiness please visit pets and disaster checklist

The American Red Cross: 

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at


One response to “Pets are part of the family in National Preparedness Month

  1. Ruben you make some very good points regarding pets in times of disaster. A week ago this past Saturday, I was presenting for the Red Cross (I’m a volunteer in DAT/Disaster Assessment) at Ready Dekalb and I talked with a service that establishes pet shelters in the parking lot area of our shelter(s) for humans. I’ll see if I have her card and post the info here.

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