Preparing Your Pets

One of the best things you can do to ensure your pet’s safety is to keep identification on him or her at all times. Visible identification should be used as well as microchipping. For dogs and cats that means a collar with a tag that has your phone number(s). Rabbits and ferrets can wear a harness with a tag.

Microchips can be helpful, but not everyone has a scanner and scanners do not always read the chip, so they are best used as a supplement to visible identification. Rabbits, dogs, and cats can also be tattooed, and birds can be banded. Also place identification (your name and phone number) on all pet carriers and cages before a disaster.

Train your pets, obedience can make a big difference in an emergency situation. Dogs and cats (birds, rabbits, and ferrets if possible) should come when their name is called and when they hear dry food or treats rattled. Each mealtime, shake a container of treats or dry food; call your pet’s name and whistle. Eventually they will associate the sounds you make with food, and will come when called.

All pets should learn to be comfortable in their cage or transport carrier. Dogs should be comfortable wearing a collar/harness, leash, and muzzle if necessary. These behaviors are easily taught using positive reinforcement through the use of food treats.

Place signs in windows or doors letting firefighters and other emergency personnel know how many pets are inside and what type(s) of animal they are.

Practice putting your pets into their carriers and loading them and your emergency kits into the car. Practice until you can evacuate in just a few minutes. Give your pet treats after each drill.