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4 P’s of Pet Preparedness

The 4 Ps of Preparedness: Protecting Your Pets in Times of Disaster

Our pets hold a special place in our hearts, providing us with love, companionship, and unwavering loyalty. As responsible pet owners, it is our duty to ensure their safety and well-being in every situation, including times of disaster and emergencies. Natural calamities and unexpected events can strike at any moment, leaving us with little time to react and evacuate. To safeguard our furry companions and keep them out of harm’s way during these challenging times, it is essential to be prepared. In this guide, we present the “4 Ps of Pet Preparedness” – a comprehensive approach to help pet owners navigate through emergencies while keeping their beloved animals safe and secure. From planning ahead and practicing evacuation procedures to assembling emergency kits and displaying vital information, these four crucial steps will empower pet owners to be ready for any adversity that may come their way. Let’s embark on this journey of preparedness, ensuring that our pets stay protected, no matter the circumstances.

On August 24, 1992, Hurricane Andrew wreaked havoc on Miami, destroying homes and displacing families. As the experts tried to predict the hurricane’s path, one family found themselves relocated multiple times, desperately seeking safe ground. In the chaos of evacuation, they were forced to leave their beloved pets behind, hoping they had secured them properly.

The decision to leave their two basset hounds and wired-haired fox terrier in the utility room with food and water was not an easy one. With the group of evacuees growing, there was no room for the pets to join them. Tragically, during the storm, all three dogs managed to escape their confinement, causing heartbreak and panic. Thankfully, a neighbor was able to bring them back to safety, but the experience highlighted the need for better pet preparedness in times of disaster.

In light of National Preparedness Month, Pet360, Inc. conducted a survey of over 5,000 pet owners to gauge their readiness for disaster or emergency evacuations involving their furry companions. The results revealed alarming shortcomings in pet preparedness:

  1. The Danger Is Real:

    • Only 13% of respondents had experienced a disaster or emergency evacuation with their pets.
    • Among those who had experienced such situations, 12% were separated from their pets during the process.
  2. Housing Is a Concern:

    • 75% of respondents stated that if pets were not allowed in disaster relief shelters, they would seek alternate housing.
    • However, finding pet-friendly accommodations in the aftermath of a disaster can be challenging.
  3. Pet Owners Are Not Prepared:

    • A staggering 46% of respondents did not have an emergency plan in place for their pets.
    • Among those who did have a plan, only 40% practiced it with their pets.
    • Less than 35% had an emergency kit specifically prepared for their pets.
    • Shockingly, 63% did not have Pet Alert stickers in their windows, a vital tool to inform first responders about pets inside the home.

To address these issues and promote National Preparedness Month, Pet360 and the Red Paw Emergency Relief Team collaborated to present the Four P’s of Pet Preparedness:

  1. Plan ahead: Research local and state regulations to identify pet-friendly evacuation options. Create a comprehensive evacuation plan that includes safe routes and suitable accommodations for your pets. Use an emergency planning checklist to ensure thorough preparation.
  2. Practice with your pets: Familiarize your pets with evacuation procedures. Train your dogs to respond to a “come” command to keep them out of harm’s way. Find ways to locate your cats quickly, such as opening a can of food. Regularly practice getting your pets into carriers and vehicles to reduce stress during real emergencies.
  3. Pack an emergency kit: Assemble a well-stocked go-kit for your pets ahead of time. Include essential supplies like first aid items, proof of ownership, vaccination history, and comforting items like their favorite toys or blankets. For more guidance, check out Pet360’s top 10 pet emergency kit items.
  4. Protect your pets when they’re home alone: In situations where you can’t be present with your pets during a disaster, display a Pet Alert sticker on your front door or window to inform first responders about the number of pets inside. Ensure the sticker includes your veterinarian’s contact information for further support.

Expert Commentary from Jen Leary, Founder of Red Paw Emergency Relief Team:

Jen Leary, Founder of the Red Paw Emergency Relief Team, emphasizes the crucial role of pet preparedness during disasters. She has witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of fires and other calamities on families, especially when pets are involved. Without a well-thought-out emergency plan, families may face the heartbreaking decision to surrender or abandon their beloved pets. Leary’s expertise underscores the necessity of proper preparation to protect both human and animal lives during emergencies.

In conclusion, the 4 Ps of Pet Preparedness provide a roadmap for pet owners to safeguard their furry family members during disasters. By planning ahead, practicing evacuation procedures, packing emergency kits, and displaying Pet Alert stickers, pet owners can significantly increase the chances of keeping their beloved pets safe and secure during times of crisis. Taking these proactive measures can make all the difference in ensuring that families remain united with their pets when facing the challenges of natural disasters and emergencies.

About Julee: Julee Morrison is an experienced author with 35 years of expertise in parenting and recipes. She is the author of four cookbooks: The Instant Pot College Cookbook, The How-To Cookbook for Teens, The Complete Cookbook for Teens, and The Complete College Cookbook. Julee is passionate about baking, crystals, reading, and family. Her writing has appeared in The LA Times (Bon Jovi Obsession Goes Global), Disney's Family Fun Magazine (August 2010, July 2009, September 2008), and My Family Gave Up Television (page 92, Disney Family Fun August 2010). Her great ideas have been featured in Disney's Family Fun (Page 80, September 2008) and the Write for Charity book From the Heart (May 2010). Julee's work has also been published in Weight Watchers Magazine, All You Magazine (Jan. 2011, February 2011, June 2013), Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine (Oct. 2011), Red River Family Magazine (Jan. 2011),, and more. Notably, her article "My Toddler Stood on Elvis' Grave and Scaled Over Boulders to Get to a Dinosaur" made AP News, and "The Sly Way I Cured My Child's Lying Habit" was featured on PopSugar. When she's not writing, Julee enjoys spending time with her family and exploring new baking recipes.
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