The County of San Diego, Department of Animal Services, recommends that you prepare, practice, and update a disaster plan with your family, and assemble emergency supplies ahead of time.
As a part of an overall plan to protect your family members, the following recommendations can help reduce the risk of harm to pets and livestock:
Microchip your pet for permanent identification. Keep your information current with the microchip company. This is invaluable should your pet(s) become separated from you.
Maintain a pet emergency kit with sufficient supplies for each pet. The following items are recommended and can be purchased locally at pet supply stores or perhaps from your veterinarian:
* A leash, harness, or pet carrier, (large enough for your pet to stand and turn around in), and a muzzle for any dog known to be aggressive or defensive around people or other animals. Also include a stake and tie-out for each dog.
* A properly fitting leather or nylon collar with a securely affixed license tag (for dogs) and ID tag (listing your address and phone number). Dogs and cats should wear a collar and tag at all times, whether or not they normally go outdoors, and all animals should have some type of identification.
* Transportable containers with at least a week's supply of water and pet food, (preferably dry), a stable, unbreakable water bowl or dispenser, a sturdy food bowl or feeder. Include a manually operated can opener and plastic can lid for canned food.
* A copy of current veterinary records, including rabies and wellness vaccination certificates, and at least a week's worth of any needed medicines and supplies - in a waterproof container. (Proof of current vaccinations may be required by boarding facilities).
* A pet first aid guide and supplies, including wound cleaning, dressing, and bandaging material. Check your local City or County Animal Shelters to see if they offer the guide. The supplies can be purchased at pet supply stores or perhaps from your veterinarian.
* Supplies to collect and dispose of pet wastes, (e.g., disposable aluminum pans,plastic bags,, cat litter, litter scoop,etc).
* Several recent photographs of your pet(s) kept in a waterproof container (in case your animal gets lost).
Start a "buddy system" with people in your neighborhood who will check on your animals in case you're away from home during an emergency. Consider including authorization in your veterinarian's file for your "buddy" to request emergency veterinary treatment for your animal(s) in your absence.
Locate and map kennels, veterinary facilities, or other animal boarding facilities and pet friendly lodging near your home and along primary and alternate evacuation route(s) - in and out of your county.
Be prepared to quickly evacuate your home if you become aware of any unreasonable risk of harm that is likely to endanger your neighborhood; don't wait until the "last minute".
NEVER leave your pet chained outside and, if you evacuate your home, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS, you may not be able to return to care for them for an extended period of time. Structural damage to your home or animal enclosure may enable your pet to escape, or permit other animals, pests, or the elements to enter and endanger the pet.
Maintain an accessible and secure list of phone numbers and addresses of local organizations that may be able to provide emergency assistance, including your veterinarian, animal control department, humane society, agricultural association, feed store, state/county veterinarian and the American Red Cross.Listen to local emergency broadcast radio stations for information on emergency shelters and holding areas that may be available to temporarily house your pets and livestock.
Network with other livestock owners to ensure that you and they have support in times of need.
Determine and map primary and alternate evacuation routes and temporary boarding sites or livestock holding facilities in advance.
Horse owners should ensure that a halter and lead line for each horse is kept on or near its enclosure gate and owners of any livestock should post emergency contact information in a conspicuous place where such animals are situated.
Make arrangements to ensure that suitable vehicles, trailers, handlers, and drivers are available to transport livestock. Facilitate the evacuation of these animals by getting them familiar with transport vehicles ahead of time.
Ensure that horses and other companion animals have microchip identification, and that all animals have some identification.
If evacuation is prudent, do it earlier rather than later. Disaster related weather, visibility, and/or road conditions could present additional challenges to transporting livestock.
If large animals cannot be evacuated, determine whether they can be moved to available shelter or allowed to remain in an outside enclosure, based on the level and type of disaster and the reliability and location of the shelter or enclosure.
(The above information has been compiled, with slight modifications, from a document prepared by San Diego County Animal Services. SPP - 10.06.13)