16 Aug Dealing with Pets and Forced Evacuations
For most of us, our pets are valued family members. We wouldn’t dream of leaving them in a dangerous situation, which means that if circumstances require that you evacuate your home, you want to bring your pet with you.
Before doing so, you need to be aware of some unique challenges evacuating with pets brings about.
You love your pets and many of the emergency crews who help with mandatory evacuations are also animal lovers, but these emergency crews only have a limited amount of space, resources, and supplies, and are often put in a position where they simply can’t help pets. They can only work with humans. This is why it’s best to evacuate your family and your pets at the first sign of trouble, rather than waiting to see how bad things are going to get.
When you first suspect there’s a chance that you’ll have to evacuate with your pets, get your car ready. This means tucking extra food, water, and crates into your vehicle. It’s far easier to put these in the car before you’re in a rush and have to unpack later than leaving in a hurry and forgetting important items.
Be Prepared for your Pet to Behave Oddly
Under most circumstances, you dog or cat might be the most laid back animal in the world, but when it’s time for you to evacuate, don’t be surprised if their personality does a complete 180. Not only are they picking up weird environmental cues, but they also sense your anxiety, which can make them difficult to catch, handle, and load into the vehicle. Remind yourself to be patient and to stay calm. Once you’ve caught your pet, keep a leash and collar on them so that you can keep them contained to your vehicle whenever you stop for gas or supplies.
Don’t Be Surprised If you and your Pet Have to Sleep in the Car
While there are some shelters and hotels that will take you and your pet, there are also several that simply can’t accommodate pets. If you can’t find shelter, you should drive until you’re clear of danger and then camp in your vehicle with your pets so that they’re reassured by your presence.
When You Can’t Take Your Pet
If circumstances simply don’t allow you to take your pet with you while you evacuate, you’ll want to do everything you can to keep them safe. Provide them with food, shelter, and plenty of water before you leave. Use a livestock marker to write your name and phone number (microchips are even better) on your pet’s body and remove any collars and harnesses that could get tangled