Story by Lorena Canales, American Red Cross Contributor

At the Red Cross we know that your fur babies are an important part of your family; that’s why the Red Cross provides several resources to help you create a plan to care for your pets during a disaster. Knowledge of how to administer first aid to your cat or dog is just as important as having a plan in place in the event you must leave your home.

An emergency shelter may not always allow your pets due to a lack of space or restrictions from the private building owners. With a little planning, you can find places where your pet would be safe and welcome.

  1. Become familiar with hotels and motels that accept pets in the event of an emergency evacuation. Calling ahead to book a reservation is the safest way to ensure you and your family will have a place to stay.
  2. Make a list of people you trust who would be willing and able to help you out. These people may include friends, family, and/or neighbors. Prepare a list with these numbers and keep it with your pet’s travel bag.

Remember! It is important, not just for your pet’s health, but also for shelter health that your pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations. If you have a regular boarding facility, you may already keep up with their shots. Many pet shelters will ask for proof of these vaccinations, so keep these records in your pet’s travel bag as well.

We all practice fire drills at work and school so we know what to do and how to behave during an emergency evacuation. You can also train and prepare your pets to cooperate during an evacuation. Make sure your pet can easily walk on a leash and enter their carrier. It might also be helpful to socialize your pets so they are calm and easy around other people and pets.

Download the Pet First Aid App

Amongst the many mobile apps provided by the Red Cross, there is also an app for Pet First Aid! It offers information on how to treat your cat or dog’s injuries and additional advice on maintaining their health and well-being. The app helps you identify nearby pet friendly hotels and veterinarians. There’s also tips on how to give your dog medications. Take the quizzes to test your pet care knowledge!