Finding Pet Shelter in an Evacuation

Yesterday we covered “Relocating With Your Dog in a Disaster,” part of this week’s series on disaster preparedness for your pets. In that post, we shared some tips from VCA’s Dr. Donna Spector about preparations you can take before a disaster for finding a place that would accept you and your pets should you need to evacuate.

We had some questions about relocating with multiple pets (definitely a concern of ours with two dogs and four cats) or with dog breeds that some hotels won’t accept.

Those restrictions make it all the more important to have a good plan in place before disaster strikes. Remember, in an evacuation or emergency, you’re not going to have time to get online to find hotels or kennels that might be able to assist you so it’s important to spend an hour while the sun is shining and make those plans!

First, remember that you won’t just be leaving your home, you’ll be leaving your community. You won’t be able to board your dog at a local kennel; you’ll need to travel outside the evacuation zone and may find kennels full for miles. Prepare a list of kennels (regular boarding kennels, veterinary offices with kennel service, etc.) before a disaster. GoPetFriendly.com includes over 1,000 kennels.

Search sites like GoPetFriendly.com, PetHotelsofAmerica.com, PetsWelcome.com and others for hotels that will accept pets. Remember that restrictions (such as breed restrictions) may be relaxed in time of disaster. Find out the per room limitations. Would you need to rent two rooms? Make a plan.

Your local emergency management office may also have resources, such as lists of pet-friendly hotels, kennels, and shelters. Check with your city to see if they have any lists that you can add to your emergency evacuation bag.

Also, ask your vet for recommendations in the area where you would probably go in an evacuation; also check the “Vet Locator Search” on Merial.com for a list of veterinarians.

Ask friends and family for their help as well. Do you have relatives or friends (or friends of relatives!) in an area where you will be evacuating? Keep a list of phone numbers and addresses in your evacuation bag.

Hopefully you may never need those lists but, in time of emergency, it definitely pays to have done your homework. Most importantly, NEVER leave your pets in a disaster. Even if you haven’t figured out all the details beforehand, you can seek assistance after your evacuate with your four-legged family members safely with you.

More articles about evacuating your pets in a disaster:

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About Paris Permenter

Paris Permenter is the founder and co-publisher of LT Media Group LLC. Along with her husband, John Bigley, she edits DogTipper.com, CatTipper.com, and has authored over 30 books on pets and travel.