Emergency Preparedness for Your Animals

Steps to Emergency Event Planning
  • List the potential hazards in your neighborhood or on your farm, and in the community.
  • Get familiar with the types of disasters that may happen: power failure, earthquake, flood, blizzard/arctic freeze, hazardous material spill, volcanic eruption.
  • Make a plan of action. You may be isolated, on your own, for a week or more. Survey your property to find the best location to confine your animals for any type of emergency.
  • If you must evacuate your home or farm, you need a place to go, and transportation. Plan several routes of escape. Leave early to beat roadblocks. When an order is given to evacuate, you need to leave ASAP.
  • If you have a stock trailer, or pickup with livestock racks, keep them serviced and always keep the gas tank at least half-full. Train your animals to lead easily day or night, by you, other family members or even a stranger in case you've already evacuated.
  • Which animals need to leave first? Determine the order of evacuation. If you need to leave any behind, how will they survive?
Your Animals Need to "Carry" an "I.D."
Identification methods for livestock and companion animals would be the following:
  • Permanent identification includes: hot-or- freeze-brand, tattoo, ear tag, microchip, license, collar ID tag, etc.
  • Photographs (hard-copy or on your computer) of front, rear and both side views. A good idea is to include yourself with your animal(s) in these photos.
  • Include breed, registration if appropriate, sex, markings, color, and age. Keep a copy of these records in a safe place. Remember that in many disasters, some pets and livestock evacuated or rescued quickly are not reunited with their owners due to lack of ability to prove ownership through identification.
  • Temporary identification methods can be used in an imminent emergency such as spray paint, grease pencil, attaching info to a collar or halter to contact you. Permanent markers also work on hooves, horns and light-colored coats.
Above all else, inform your family about your emergency plans in case you are ever in an emergency situation.

How to Prepare an Emergency Kit
Livestock owners it is very important to prepare an emergency kit for the barn and a smaller kit for the stock trailer. The following things should be part of it:
  • Emergency supply of feed, roughage, grain supplements, medications for at least 5-7 days, (2 weeks is best).
Companion Animals
Companion animal owners prepare a first aid kit and have an animal carrier on hand:
  • Stock up on your pets' favorite foods. Clean water is a must. Plan for 5 to 7 days' worth; 2 weeks is best.
  • Containers for food and water.
Both Livestock & Companion Animals
Check with your veterinarian about the following things:
  • Dietary charts for emergency feed and water for livestock
  • What medications/prescriptions should be ordered and ready for 2 weeks or more
  • Any other supplies that may be needed.
Other supplies for livestock and companion animals
  • Animal first aid book/supplies
  • Blanket, leg wraps, shampoo, and brushes (to remove toxic substances)
  • Control/restraint devices (leashes, halters, rope, cages/carriers, etc.)
  • Gloves, bandana, face mask
  • Hammer, wire cutters, pliers, sharp knife
  • Insurance information, if any
  • Phone numbers, especially the family/farm veterinarian and the alternate vet, farrier, animal control, WSU Cooperative extension, friends, and other family members
  • Portable radio, flashlight, extra batteries
  • Records - especially medical records - current vaccinations, medications and dosages, special feeding instructions
  • Tarps, shovel
  • Additional items as you think of them
Special note: Consider leaving a signed and notarized medical release form with your family veterinarian.

Visit With Neighbors and Develop an Emergency Plan

  • List the resources among you:
    • Arena
    • Cages
    • Corrals
    • Generator
    • Pens
    • Stalls
    • Tractors
    • Trailers
    • Veterinary/animal science experience
  • Set up a "buddy system" in case one of you is away if a disaster strikes.
  • Review your plans at least yearly, and when you get a new farm animal or pet. Rotate/replace stored emergency feed and water every 3 months for freshness. Rotate/replace expired prescription and over-the-counter medications as needed.
  • When you prepare for a large disaster or other emergency, you are ready for any small-scale event that may come along.
Practice Makes Perfect
Finally, practice, practice, practice your emergency plan.

Please note: This is a suggested guideline for the animal owner. It is not all inclusive. Use it and add to it as you need for your own animals. If you begin to use these guidelines, you will remember our forgotten victims of disasters and community emergencies.