What to Know: Preparing Pets for an Earthquake

Pet owners have a responsibility to make sure that pets are protected and cared for in the event of an emergency. Especially with many pet owners and Californians worried about 'The Big One' coming.

That's why LA-based Michelson Found Animals Foundation has the following tips to help make sure that not just you, but your pets, are safe should an earthquake occur.

Plan for Your Pets

  • Know which hotels and motels along your evacuation route will accept you and your pets in an emergency. If you learn that you might need to evacuate, you should call ahead for reservations. It's also always a good idea to ask if no-pet policies can be waived in case of an emergency.
  • Know which friends, relatives, boarding facilities, animal shelters or veterinarians can care for your animals in an emergency. Prepare a list with phone numbers.
  • Include your pets in evacuation drills so that they become used to entering and traveling in their carriers calmly.
  • Make sure your pet is wearing an ID tag with current information, and that he wears his collar/id tag all the time, even when indoors.
  • Make sure your pet is microchipped, since an ID tag could come off or become damaged during an emergency. A microchip is a small device about the size of a grain of rice that is inserted under your pet's skin and contains an identification number that can be scanned by a shelter or veterinarian.
  • Double check that your pet's microchip is registered and contains the correct name and your current phone number and address, otherwise there's no easy way to reach you if they're found! If your pet is chipped but not registered, you can register for free here.
  • Vaccinate to reduce their risk of sickness and disease in unknown conditions during an emergency.
  • Have a pet emergency kit with gauze, bandages, food, immunization records, microchip information and vet and emergency contact information.

Make a Kit for Pets

Just as humans require essential items to survive, so do pets. Emergencies can require responding at a moment's notice and it is critical to have a kit ready for your pet in these situations. Keep a container that is easy to grab-and-go with at least three days of survival items for your animal. Also remember that different pets require different items. Your pet's kit should include:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Folding bowls
  • Cat litter/pan
  • Manual can opener
  • Pet identification and current photos of your pet for use in the event that he or she is lost
  • Contact information for your pet's veterinarian
  • Keep medical records and behavior problems in waterproof containers
  • Pet's leash, harness and/or carriers to transport pets safely
  • Blankets, toys and comfort items
  • List of pet boarding locations
For reptiles, birds and fish emergency kits click here. 
For horses and live stock click here. 

If You Find a Lost Pet

  • Approach the animal with extreme care and check for an ID tag.
  • Go online to try to find the parents: post a description and photo on Nextdoor, your social networks, Craigslist and Petfinder.
  • Then, take the animal to your local shelter to get them scanned for a microchip. If the pet is chipped and the registry information is up-to-date, they have the best opportunity to be quickly reunited with their pet owner.
  • If you lose a pet - first and foremost, don't endanger yourself looking for your pet in a disaster situation. Check sites like Nextdoor, Craigslist and Petfinder along with social media. Then, visit local shelters as soon as you are able.

You can find an informational graphic for 'Pet Safety Tips' here.

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