From natural disasters like earthquakes and wildfires to man-made emergencies, you may need to either live without electricity or even evacuate your home at some point. Shelters for people don’t always take pets and in an emergency, you may not be able to get to the store to get the items you need to care for your pet. Having a plan in place for your pets – just like you do for your other family members – can help you care for them during an emergency, according to the US Department of Homeland Security.

Make your Pets Easy to Find: Microchip your pets and make sure cats and dogs have collars with up to date phone numbers; if you are separated, these pieces of information will allow you to be reunited. Even indoor cats need identification; if your home is damaged or you need to leave, they could get out or run away.

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Research Pet Friendly Travel Options: Wildfires and other relatively slow-moving disasters give you time to get out; if you know in advance, you can head to a pet-friendly family member’s home to wait out the storm. Taking the time to research pet friendly hotels and travel spots now can help you make fast decisions if you need to evacuate your home. You should never leave your pets behind if you evacuate, so knowing where to go will help you act quickly in an emergency.

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Pack an Emergency Bag: Prepare an emergency bag just for your pets; include at least a week’s worth of food and water, any medication your pet needs, copies of all your immunization records and photos of your pet. If you have a spare set of ID tags, include them as well, along with an extra leash or carrier for safe transport of your pets. Your veterinarian’s number and any other details about your pet should be included as well.

It does not take long to prepare your pets for an emergency and to ensure that they are safe if you need to leave in a hurry. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your pets will be prepared and ready to go, no matter what happens.

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