Pets in Disaster Zones, What You Need To Know

There is FALSE information being shared online about pets in the evacuation areas.

ALL HOTELS do NOT have to take your pets. ALL shelters do NOT have to take your pets due to the PETS Act 2006.

Hotels are urged to lift their pet ban but do not have to do it. Many will do it but please do NOT shame a hotel for not accepting pets.

ALL shelters do NOT have to take pets. There are many pet-friendly shelters available but many of them can't handle families and pets.
Dog in green shirt in kennel with emergency papers ready to evacuate in emergencies

An emergency shelter may allow you in but they may send your pets to an animal shelter. Shelters may also house your pet in another area such as another room. This is why many shelters are shipping pets (that are adoptable) out of the area. It is to make sure they have room for the pets of those who can't find a place to take their pets or does not have enough room for pets and people.

Many shelters have a limit on how many pets they can take in with each family. If you have 4 dogs and 6 cats, you may not be accepted in an emergency shelter. Most limit pets to 1-4.
If you take your animal to an emergency shelter with you, it is up to YOU to provide food and water. There is no food for pets available. Emergency shelters are NOT required to feed your animals.
Most shelters will not accept reptiles, spiders,
Prepare a kit for your pets now! It is up to you to take care of your pet.
When you evacuate your home, be sure to take:
  1. At least a 1-week supply of food and fresh water for your pets; Don't forget the can opener if your food doesn't have a pop top
  2. Medications, if your pets take medication;
  3. Copies of your pets’ vaccination records and other medical records;
  4. Information about your pet insurance policy, if you have one; and
  5. Photos of your pets to help others identify them if you become separated. (Microchips can also help reunite you with your pets in case of a separation.)
  6. Cat boxes, litter, bags to put waste in, crates
  7. Put everything in Ziploc type bags to stay dry. If you are caught in flood waters, it may float!
Try to find a pet-friendly hotel. Most have already been booked but keep searching because someone may have canceled their reservations. Search numerous websites. Some may have rooms available only to their sites.
There are much more that allow you to check pet-friendly hotels in the search
Information poster from CDC about pets evacuations
*Source* CDC website

Make sure your pet is wearing their collars with current ID tags. Is your phone number correct? Is it easy to read? 

Is your pet microchipped?? Is the information correct? Now is the time to check! 

Are your pets current on their vaccines? Rabies vaccine is required in ALL 50 states! Have your titers test results if you don't get your pets a vaccine every year or 3 years. 

If you have livestock, the Humane Society of the United States has helpful tips on what to do to prepare. Prepare for a disaster with horses and other livestock

Some shelters limit what pets they will take. An example is Jacksonville shelters posted-  The following animal species will be accepted into the shelters: dogs, cats, rodents (such as hamsters, gerbils, etc.), birds, and rabbits. No reptiles will be allowed in shelters.

Some of the shelters state that you MUST pre-register before arriving. Most say pets should be in crates when arriving. 

To find out more about the shelters and their requirements in your area, visit the AKC Hurricane Pet-Friendly Shelters

I hope this helps to prepare you for what you need to do for evacuations. Even if you don't live in a coastal state, this list can be used for floods, fires, earthquakes, and tornadoes. Whatever mother nature wants to throw at us, it is best to be a prepared pet owner. 

Stay safe, stay responsible. 
Have I left anything out?? 
Please put it in the comments to help readers be better prepared. 

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  1. Scary time for everybody,hope everyone stays safe....including you,xx Speedy and Rachel

  2. Hadn't seen that graphic which is very informative! Thanks for sharing this info and the pawsome graphic.

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