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What you need to know to prepare your pets incase of disaster

Disaster can strike anywhere and at anytime. From housefires to floods, tornadoes to power outages and thunderstorms, Hoosiers can see a lot of crazy things throughout the year.

Are you prepared to take care of the whole family, including your four-legged furry friends, when severe weather occurs or if you need to leave your home?

Tom Dock of Noah’s Animal Hospitals joined us Monday on “Life.Style.Live!” to share what you should know to keep your pets safe, especially during September is National Preparedness Month.

This is the time of year where we are reminded that emergencies and disaster can happen at any time. If evacuations need to happen, your need to have a plan for your pets as well.

A very quick and easy first step is to make sure that you have current pictures of your furry family as well as copies of your rabies certificates and medical records. Your veterinarian and staff are happy to help you with this task, and you can even take a “selfie” of you and your pet together!

Having a current picture with you will make identification easier if you and your pet get separated during a disaster. Remember, in the wake of many disasters, the local landscape and landmarks might change drastically, making it difficult for your pet to find their way home.

Now that you have a “photo ID” of your pet as well as needed documents, get a separate pet evacuation kit together. This kit should be separate from your own evacuation kit and should contain important items for your pet’s well-being.

Include items such as several days of dry food, canned food (if needed for your pet), and bottles of water. Bowls, paper towels, trash bags and liquid soap will also go into the kit along with a supply of needed daily medications.

Remember that not all shelters will accept pets, so knowing this ahead of time is helpful. If you need to leave your home due to a housefire or other issue confined to just your home, look for pet friendly hotels at or

Even if your shelter or hotel is pet-friendly, make sure you have means of containing or restraining your pets. Leashes, collars, carriers (for cats) and crates (for dogs) will be essential, especially if the disaster is more widespread.

A lot can change around your pet’s world during a natural disaster or a situation like a housefire. Pets may not recognize the area and may try to run off for a variety of reasons. Microchipping is always a good idea, but consider doing this BEFORE it’s needed during an evacuation. Your veterinary team can do this for you at ANY time.

If your pet is microchipped already, take a few moments this month and make sure your information is updated and current at the microchip company database. Again, if you aren’t sure who that is, check with your veterinary team.

Hopefully, you and your canine/feline family will be back home in no time, but it’s never wrong to plan ahead so that if disaster does occur, you can keep your whole family together. It’s always a good idea to actually GO to the local shelter if your pet is ever lost. Shelter employees may be overwhelmed and not recognize your description of your pet.

The Federal Emergency Management Administration has a video at that can help walk you through the steps needed to make sure you and your pets are prepared!!

Interesting Note: Indianapolis is the first city in the nation where a local veterinary hospital has teamed up with animal care services and the fire department to insure that pets affected by housefires or vehicle accidents have a place to stay while owners handle their own medical and other needs. This is the Domestic Animal Response Team (DART).

For more information, click here.