All families should have an emergency plan in place in case extreme weather or a natural disaster in the Charlotte area forces you to live without power, or worse, evacuate your home. (If not, learn how to create one HERE.) But, planning for your pets is sometimes overlooked.

Your pets are likely to be frightened and in need of some special care. Here are some tips for helping your furry friends weather an emergency:

1. Set aside emergency pet supplies. Things to include:

  • 7 days worth of bottled water
  • food and a food/water dishes
  • medications
  • vet records (a boarding facility may require them)
  • leash & collar
  • 1st aid kit for pets (consult vet)
  • a carrier
  • newspapers/puppy pads/litter in case they are unable
    to go outside to do their business.
  • Soap/disinfectant
  • a blanket
  • 2 toys per pet


2. Plan for their shelter. If the safest place for you during a severe storm is the basement, then that’s the safest place for your pets, too. Don’t leave them outside or corral too many pets into a small area. Even if they typically get along, the stress of the situation may cause them to act out.
3. Identify places to go in case of evacuation. Think of hotels that accept pets, or of friends and family who are nearby. Make a list of their phone numbers and addresses, as well as those of local boarding facility in case you need to stay in a shelter that doesn’t allow pets. Work out a buddy system with neighbors to see that animals are evacuated in the event one of you is not home.
4. Don’t let pets roam free, even after things calm down. Fences could be down and there could be hazards on the ground such as downed power lines. Pets may still be frightened enough to run off, so keep them close and keep an eye on them.
5. Be sure all pets have proper identification. Your current phone number and/or address should be on their collars or tags, as well as on microchips. Make sure to keep a picture of your pet(s) on your phone in case they become lost.

*For more specialized or larger pets, talk to your veterinarian about their needs during an emergency.

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