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Include Pets in Flood Preparations

Charles Stoltenow, NDSU Extension veterinarian

Remember your pets if you are preparing for a flood.

If you are forced to leave your home, you need to take your pets with you. Have a plan for where you will take your pets or how you will take care of them.

Leaving pets at home if you evacuate is not a good idea because they could get lost, injured or worse. They also could damage your home if they are left on their own.

Pet owners should not wait until evacuation is imminent to try to find shelter for their animals because their options might be limited. For example, the Red Cross will not allow pets in disaster shelters for health and safety reasons, and designated pet shelters may be full.

Here is some advice to help you find shelter for your pets:

  • Ask friends or family members outside your area if they would be willing to shelter your animals.
  • Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter your animals. Include a 24-hour phone number for these facilities.
  • Contact hotels and motels outside your local area to check their policies on accepting animals. Make sure to ask whether the facility has restrictions on the number, species and size of animals it will accept.
  • Ask local animal shelters if they provide emergency shelter or know of anyone who would provide that service. Animal shelters should be your last resort, though, because they may be overwhelmed by caring for animals they already have, as well as those displaced by flooding.

Also, assemble a pet evacuation kit. Keep these items in an accessible place and store them in sturdy containers that you can carry easily (a duffel bag or covered trash containers, for example). The kit should include:

  • Airline-type pet carriers
  • Blankets and towels
  • Food, water and pet dishes
  • Litter and litter pans
  • Leashes and collars
  • Photocopies of veterinary records, especially vaccinations and medical history
  • Adequate supply of prescription drugs and copies of the prescriptions
  • Proof of ownership, such as photos of pet owners with their pets
  • List of emergency contacts, such as the pet owner’s cell phone number and phone number for the pet’s veterinarian or someone outside the area who would know how to contact the pet owner and might know something about the pet
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