Two weeks ago, residents of the Galena area participated in a disaster drill, including evacuation with their pets. Washoe County Regional Animal Services and Nevada Humane Society were on hand to practice setting up and checking animals into an emergency shelter.
However good our community's disaster plan might be, there is no replacement for having your own family disaster plan that includes your pets. Developing an evacuation plan: Prearrange an evacuation site for your family and animals outside the immediate area.
Ideally, this will be with a friend, relative or a pet-friendly hotel. Optionally, you can make advance arrangements for the care of your pets with a boarding facility or vet clinic outside the immediate area. While emergency shelters for people do not allow pets, many now plan to have a shelter for pets nearby. Keep in mind that even the best emergency shelter is going to be very stressful for your pet, and you will not be able to be with your pet all the time.
Allow plenty of time when evacuating. If you postpone leaving until the last moment, you might not be able to take your pets. Animal Behavior: At the very first sign of a potential disaster, bring your pets indoors. Animals instinctively want to hide when things go wrong; bringing them inside at the first sign of danger can prevent them from hiding or running away.
The anxiety of an emergency situation might lead normally friendly pets to react in a defensive or aggressive manner. Do not leave cats and dogs together, even if they normally get along. Make sure you have a secure pet carrier, leash or harness for each of your pets so that if they panic, they cannot escape. Where others might need to assist with evacuating your pets, having muzzles and handling gloves on hand can help.
Identification for your pets: Having identification on your animals will dramatically increase the likelihood of you and your pet being reunited should you become separated. A tag on a collar is the first line of defense, but a microchip is the most reliable form of identification for your pet. Keep your contact information current, both on the pet's tag and with the microchip company.