Natural disasters and other such emergencies are terrifying for anyone - but they can be downright deadly on animals who can’t protect themselves. In the event of wildfires, there are animal shelters that shelter many pets that have been fire-evacuated. Even though these shelters often keep up with the demand that comes with the needs of pets and other animals in the event of wildfires, the reason why they are so full is that most people don’t prepare themselves properly to evacuate their pets and other animals. 

These shelters do everything they can to help people evacuate their animals, far too many evacuate and unfortunately leave their animals behind. Oftentimes, fires can move so fast that even people struggle to get away to safety on time. In the event of a wildfire or other natural disaster, are you able to evacuate yourself, your family and your pets at a moment's notice? Moving your cat or dog might be something you can do, but those of us who have horses or large livestock might not have enough space in their trailers to evacuate their animals quickly. 

With cats and dogs and other pets, one of the most important things to have is a pet carrier if they are able to fit in one. A pet carrier or cage should have enough room for the animal to move around and lie down. Be sure to keep warm blankets, towels and anything else your specific animal would need. Be sure to bring leashes, harnesses, food, and water, and so on. If your pet’s food comes from a can, be sure to add a can opener. It’s a good idea to try to keep some of these items in your bug out bag. Comfort items like toys from home, pet beds and other things that would help reduce their anxiety and stress would be a good idea. For instance, some dogs respond well to having an article of their owner's clothing in their cage with them. The scent of their owner can help to calm them down. Be sure to also bring items to pick up their waste as well.

While there are specific challenges evacuating your animals even when you’re at home and can get to them quickly, it can get even worse if you aren’t home and can’t get to them before you need to evacuate yourself. In the event you aren’t able to get your animals, it’s essential to have a neighbor or friend who can. Be sure that your friend or neighbor has a key to your home and knows what to do to get your pets evacuated safely. Show them where your pet might be hiding if they are scared and tell them what to take with them for your pet. 

Do you know where your local Humane Society is? Learn where it is just in case your friend or neighbor can’t get to your pet either. Unfortunately, most shelters won’t take your pet in the event of a disaster. The Humane Society has compiled a list of hotels that allow you to bring your pet, but most will charge extra for you to bring your pet. 

While natural disasters are unpredictable and sometimes impact our pets the worse, following these steps can increase your chances of keeping them safe in such troubling times.