If you are like thousands of Missourians, your pet is an important member of your household. The likelihood that you and your animals will experience an emergency such as a fire, flood, tornado, or power outage is great; but preparing today will help decrease the stress on your entire household later. Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system are the same for any emergency. Whether you stay at home during an emergency or must evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. Keep in mind that what's best for you is typically what's best for your animals.

If you must evacuate, take your pets with you if possible. However, if you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets. Service animals who assist people with disabilities are the only animals allowed in most shelters (as required by law).

Make a back-up emergency plan in case you can't care for your animals yourself. Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.

If you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home, there are some precautions you must take, but remember that leaving your pet at home alone can place your animal in great danger! Confine your pet to a safe area inside - NEVER leave your pet chained outside or confined to a crate! Leave them loose inside your home with food and plenty of water. Make allowances, if you can, for heat and ventilation issues your pet may face in your absence. Prepare as if you will not be able to return home for 7-10 days. For larger dogs, you can remove the toilet tank lid, raise the seat or fill the bathtub with water and brace the bathroom door open so they can drink.

Place notices outside in a visible area, advising what pets are in the house and where they are located. Provide a telephone number where you or a contact can be reached as well as the name and number of your veterinarian.

Whether you are away from home for a day or week, you’ll need essential supplies. Keep items in an accessible place and store them in sturdy containers that can be easily carried. Use the Emergency Preparedness Checklist for Pet Owners, available in English, Spanish and Bosnian, as you prepare your pets for emergencies situations.

The Family Safety Guide provides detailed information on the three steps in preparing in advance of any emergency. The guide is available in print in English, Spanish, Bosnian and Braille and electronically in Romanian and Russian. Order Family Safety Guides here!

Related Links:

Humane Society of Missouri
Missouri Veterinary Medical Association
Missouri Veterinary Medical Board