National Preparedness Month

Contributed by: San Diego Humane Society

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Emergency planning is always important for pet parents. Photo courtesy San Diego Humane Society

Whether because of an illness, wildfire, earthquake or other disaster in San Diego County, San Diego Humane Society reminds pet owners to include their animals when planning for an emergency.

In honor of National Preparedness Month, SDHS will be providing emergency planning tips through social media channels all month long to help educate pet owners about how to keep their pets safe when disaster strikes.

San Diego Humane Society recommends the following tips for emergency planning:

1. Plan Ahead. Not all evacuation shelters accept pets, so it’s important to do some prep work. County information sources such as ReadySanDiego.org and ListoSanDiego.org (Spanish) can help. Research hotels outside your area for pet policies and ask friends or family if you and your pets can stay with them in a disaster.

2. In Case of Illness. Create a care tree for how your pets will be cared for should you become sick or hospitalized. During a pandemic like COVID-19, have 2-4 options lined up in case they become sick.

3. Identification. Make sure your pets are wearing identification at all times. This includes animals who don’t normally go outside. Having your pet microchipped can also help identify him if he becomes lost. Make sure that you not only keep your address and phone number up to date, but also include an emergency contact outside of your immediate area.

4. Leave Early and Take Your Pets. If you are evacuating your home, take your pets with you. Pets cannot fend for themselves during disasters and leaving them behind can risk both their lives and those of rescuers. Leave early and don’t wait for mandatory evacuation orders.

5. In Case You’re Away. A disaster may strike or an order to evacuate may come when you’re away from home. Make arrangements in advance with a trusted neighbor to take your pets and meet you at a specified location.

6. Plan for Large Animals. If you have large animals/livestock, have trailers or travel containers available for all of these animals. Work with your animals in advance, so they are used to being loaded and unloaded from their trailers. Work with neighbors to identify locations where large animals can be brought to on foot (large open areas during fires). You may not have time or space to evacuate all of your large animals, and you will not be allowed to reenter mandatory evacuation areas even for your own animals.

7. Prepare an Emergency Kit. Put all of your daily pet supplies in a sturdy container. Gather three-plus days of food and water with bowls and two weeks of your pet’s medications. Don’t forget shot records, crates, bedding and even toys. Keeping your pet comfortable will reduce stress during an evacuation.

8. Register with Finding Rover. Register your dog with Finding Rover, an app that uses facial recognition to reunite lost dogs with their owners. Your smartphone is also a good place to keep photos of your pets. (Microchip your dog and register the microchip.)

9. Learn Pet First-Aid. The last thing you want is to be frazzled if your pet is injured. Spare yourself (and your pet) the panic, by familiarizing yourself with what to do should your pet ever become injured.

10. Know Your Vet. Locate a veterinarian or animal hospital in the area where you may be seeking temporary shelter, in case your pet needs medical care. Also, be sure to add the contact information to your emergency kit.

More information can be found on our website: www.sdhumane.org/disasterpreparedness


Read the Pet Companion Magazine article about Emergency Preparedness here:

Training for Emergencies

Disaster Preparedness


About San Diego Humane Society
San Diego Humane Society’s scope of social responsibility goes beyond adopting animals. We offer programs that strengthen the human-animal bond, prevent cruelty and neglect, provide medical care, educate the community and serve as a safety net for all pet families. Serving San Diego County since 1880, San Diego Humane Society has campuses in Escondido, Oceanside and San Diego. For more information, please visit sdhumane.org.

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