New Mexico Urban Homesteader

Hello, I am A 50 Something, Prepper ;-}; former 60's Flower Child, don't believe in taxpayer subsidized special interest groups (political parties), DO believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights (1st 10). Long time Independent & Informed Voter. Lover of the outdoors and firm believer that History Teaches - if only we will listen!

(No longer Urban or in NM. Now Rural in the mountains of Maine.)

This blog was started at the request of some dear friends that wish to become Preppers.

“No man who is not willing to help himself has any right to apply to his friends, or to the gods.”

Demosthenes (384–322 BC, Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Prepping for Animals, Pets & Livestock

Disaster planning is a “what if” game – what if you were at work, away from home shopping, etc and your pets or livestock were at home with no one else there? What if a sudden disaster occurred in the middle of the night? Would you be able to fully accomplish everything you needed to and safely evacuate in time? Your plans for you and yours should be based on this kind of advance thinking. Basically this will be the same for your Animals, Pets and Livestock as it is for you and your family.

Like any preparedness exercise, you need a plan; an inventory of what you have and what you need (skills & goods); an emergency go-bag, including a first aid kit; food, water and shelter; an Animal Documentation Book and a budget to accomplish it all. Your animals, pets and livestock are no different.

From my research the top 2, the very best and second to none, downloadable information PDF’s are:

Saving the Whole Family by the American Veterinary Medical Association at . This covers the most variety of both Pets and Livestock.

Emergency Planning Workbook by the Equine University at This includes forms for planning and your documentation book. Although geared to the horse, just substitute your pet or other livestock and use the above PDF for the detailed stuff on each particular type of animal.

A good basic site for general animal, pet & livestock preparedness downloadable information is:

Your local humane organization, agricultural extension agent, or local emergency management agency may be able to provide you with information about your community’s disaster response plans. For general information about animal disaster preparedness, write to Disaster Services,
The Humane Society of the United States,
2100 L St., NW, Washington, DC 20037;
call 202-452-1100; or visit

For Community Pet Preparedness see Ready.GOV (part of Homeland Security/FEMA) for some basic and mind provoking ideas (Yes basic, cause this is the government, but they do have this interesting section called Lessons Learned - humm) at:

Disaster Readiness Tips for OWNERS OF SERVICE ANIMALS from the National Organization on Disability ( or )

In your Documentation Book have a Pet Record sheet for each pet, service animal or livestock. If you are raising livestock, have a Documentation Book for your livestock containing the basic medical history and identification information. You can also have a CD/DVD that holds more detailed records such as breeding history, inoculations and the like.

Sample found at

General Tips:

Make a disaster plan to protect your property, your facilities, and your animals. Create a list of emergency telephone numbers, including those of your employees, neighbors, veterinarian, state veterinarian, poison control, local animal shelter, animal care and control, county extension service, local agricultural schools, trailering resources, and local volunteers. Include a contact person outside the disaster area. Make sure all this information is written down and that everyone has a copy.

Arrange for a place to shelter your animals. Plan ahead and work within your community to establish safe shelters for farm animals. Potential facilities include fairgrounds, other farms, racetracks, humane societies, convention centers, and any other safe and appropriate facilities you can find. Survey your community and potential host communities along your planned evacuation route.

Contact your local emergency management authority and become familiar with at least two possible evacuation routes well in advance.

Check in advance for hotels, motels and shelters, in a 30, 60, 90 mile radius, that take pets and what their requirements are. Many require pre-registration of some sort. Check the following websites before an evacuation to make your plans in advance:

The American Automobile Association (AAA) publishes "Traveling With Your Pet: The AAA Pet Book". It lists, by state and city, 13,000 locations that will accommodate pets in an emergency. The PetBook is available in many AAA club offices, at better bookstores or online at Barnes and Noble.

Find local animal shelters ( )prepared to provide emergency shelter for displaced pets. Government run shelters will be listed in the blue pages of the phone book, and non-profit animal shelters in the yellow pages.

Have a list of local PET SHELTERS

Remember AMERICAN RED CROSS Shelters DO NOT allow animals!

Know your areas POST-DISASTER ANIMAL COLLECTION SITES in case you are separated from your pet.

Talk to your veterinarian about boarding facilities. Do they have a plan?

Coordinate with your local Humane Society ahead of time.

Your pets’ vaccinations should be current and documentation available.

Talk with your family or friends; are they a resource?

Do you have current photographs of you and your pets together?

Do your pets have identification collars, tags, tattoos, chips?

Do you have a properly sized pet carrier for each animal? Carriers should be large enough for the animal to stand and turn around comfortably.

Work with your pet so the first time they go into the carrier is NOT during an emergency.

Make sure every animal has durable and visible identification.

Ensure that poultry have access to high areas in which to perch, if they are in a flood-prone area, as well as to food and clean water.

Reinforce your house, barn, and outbuildings with hurricane straps and other measures. Perform regular safety checks on all utilities, buildings, and facilities on your farm/ranch.

Use only native and deep-rooted plants and trees in landscaping (nonnative plants are less durable and hardy in your climate and may become dislodged by high winds or broken by ice and snow).

Remove all barbed wire, and consider rerouting permanent fencing so that animals may move to high ground in a flood and to low-lying areas in high-wind events.

Install a hand pump and obtain enough large containers to water your animals for at least a week (municipal water supplies and wells are often contaminated during a disaster).

Identify alternate water and power sources. A generator with a safely stored supply of fuel may be essential, especially if you have electrical equipment necessary to the well-being of your animals.

Secure or remove anything that could become blowing debris; make a habit of securing trailers, propane tanks, and other large objects. If you have boats, feed troughs, or other large containers, fill them with water before any high-wind event. This prevents them from blowing around and also gives you an additional supply of water.

If you use heat lamps or other electrical machinery, make sure the wiring is safe and that any heat source is clear of flammable debris.

Label hazardous materials and place them all in the same safe area. Provide local fire and rescue and emergency management authorities with information about the location of any hazardous materials on your property.

Remove old buried trash—a potential source of hazardous materials during flooding that may leech into crops, feed supplies, water sources, and pasture.

If evacuation is not possible, a decision must be made whether to confine large animals to an available shelter on your farm or leave them out in pastures. Owners may believe that their animals are safer inside barns, but in many circumstances, confinement takes away the animals’ ability to protect themselves. This decision should be based on the type of disaster and the soundness and location of the sheltering building.

Survey your property for the best location for animal sheltering. If your pasture area meets the following criteria, your large animals may be better off out in the pasture than being evacuated:

No exotic (nonnative) trees, which uproot easily
No overhead power lines or poles
No debris or sources of blowing debris
No barbed-wire fencing (woven-wire fencing is best)
Not less than one acre in size (if less than an acre, your livestock may not be able to avoid blowing debris).

If your pasture area does not meet these criteria, you should evacuate. Whether you evacuate or shelter in place, make sure that you have adequate and safe fencing or pens to separate and group animals appropriately.

Work with your state department of agriculture and county extension service. If your animals cannot be evacuated, these agencies may be able to provide on-farm oversight. Contact them well in advance to learn their capabilities and the most effective communication procedure.

Evacuate animals as soon as possible. Be ready to leave once the evacuation is ordered.
In a slowly evolving disaster, such as a hurricane, leave no later than 72 hours before anticipated landfall, especially if you will be hauling a high-profile trailer such as a horse trailer. Remember: Even a fire truck fully loaded with water is considered “out of service” in winds exceeding 40 mph. If there are already high winds, it may not be possible to evacuate safely.

Set up safe transportation. Trucks, trailers, and other vehicles suitable for transporting livestock (appropriate for transporting each specific type of animal) should be available, along with experienced handlers and drivers.

Take all your disaster supplies with you or make sure they will be available at your evacuation site. You should have or be able to readily obtain feed, water, veterinary supplies, handling equipment, tools, and generators if necessary.

If your animals are sheltered off your property, make sure that they remain in the groupings they are used to. Also, be sure they are securely contained and sheltered from the elements if necessary, whether in cages, fenced-in areas, or buildings.

Review and update your disaster plan, supplies, and information regularly.


Make a Plan for what you will do in an emergency.

Plan in advance what you will do in an emergency. Be prepared to assess the situation. Use common sense and whatever you have on hand to take care of yourself and ensure your pet’s safety during an emergency.

Evacuate. Plan how you will assemble your pets and anticipate where you will go. If you must evacuate, take your pets with you, if practical. If you go to a public shelter, keep in mind your pets may not be allowed inside. Secure appropriate lodging in advance depending on the number and type of animals in your care. Consider family or friends outside your immediate area who would be willing to take in you and your pets in an emergency. Other options may include: a hotel or motel that takes pets or some sort of boarding facility, such as a kennel or veterinary hospital that is near an evacuation facility or your family’s meeting place. Find out before an emergency happens if any of these facilities in your area might be viable options for you and your pets.

Develop a buddy system. Plan with neighbors, friends or relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Talk with your pet care buddy about your evacuation plans and show them where you keep your pet’s emergency supply kit. Also designate specific locations, one in your immediate neighborhood and other farther away, where you will meet in an emergency.

Talk to your pet’s veterinarian about emergency planning. Discuss the types of things you should include in your pet’s emergency first aid kit. Get the names of vets or veterinary hospitals in other cities where you might need to seek temporary shelter. Also talk with your veterinarian about microchipping. If you and your pet are separated, this permanent implant for your pet and corresponding enrollment in a recovery database can help a veterinarian or shelter identify your animal. If your pet is microchipped, keeping your emergency contact informa¬tion up to date and listed with a reliable recovery database is essential to you and your pet being reunited.

Gather contact information for emergency animal treatment. Make a list of contact information and ad¬dresses of area animal control agencies including the Humane Society or ASPCA and emergency veterinary hospitals. Keep one copy of these phone numbers with you, and one in your pet’s emergency supply kit. Obtain “Pets Inside” stickers and place them on your doors or windows, including information on the number and types of pets in your home to alert firefighters and rescue workers. Consider putting a phone number on the sticker where you could be reached in an emergency. And, if time permits, remember to write the words “Evacuated with Pets” across the stickers, should you evacuate your home with your pets.

Get a Kit of pet emergency supplies.

Just as you do with your family’s emergency supply kit, think first about the basics for survival, particularly food and water.

  • • Food: Keep at least three days of food in an airtight, waterproof container.
  • • Water: Store at least three days of water specifically for your pets, in addition to water you need for yourself and your family.
  • • Medicines and medical records: Keep an extra supply of medicines your pet takes on a regular basis in a waterproof container.
  • • First aid kit: Talk to your veterinarian about what is most appropriate for your pet’s emergency medical needs. Most kits should include cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors; antibiotic ointment; flea and tick prevention; latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Include a pet first aid reference book.
  • • Collar with ID tag, harness or leash: Your pet should wear a collar with its rabies tag and identification at all times. Include a backup leash, collar and ID tag in your pet’s emergency supply kit.
  • • Important documents: Place copies of your pet’s registration information, adoption papers, vaccination documents and medical records in a clean plastic bag or waterproof container and also add them to your kit.
  • • Crate or other pet carrier: If you need to evacuate in an emergency situation take your pets and animals with you, provided that it is practical to do so.
  • • Sanitation: Include pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach to provide for your pet’s sanitation needs. You can use bleach as a disinfectant (dilute nine parts water to one part bleach), or in an emergency you can also use it to purify water. Use 8 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon
  • • of water, stir well and let it stand for 30 minutes before use. Do not use scented or color safe bleaches or those with added cleaners.
  • • A picture of you and your pet together: If you become separated from your pet during an emergency, a picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you in identifying your pet. Include detailed information about species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics.
  • • Familiar items: Put favorite toys, treats or bedding in your kit. Familiar items can help reduce stress for your pet.

Consider two kits. In one, put everything your pets will need to stay where you are and make it on your own. The other should be a lightweight, smaller version you can take with you if you and your pets have to get away.

Be Prepared for what might happen.

Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling an emergency supply kit for yourself, your family and your pets, is the same regardless of the type of emergency. However, it’s important to say informed about what might happen and know what types of emergencies are likely to affect your region.

Be prepared to adapt this information to your personal circumstances and make every effort to follow instruc¬tions received from authorities on the scene. With these simple preparations, you can be ready for the unex¬pected. Those who take the time to prepare themselves and their pets will likely encounter less difficulty, stress and worry. Take the time now to get yourself and your pet ready.


Disaster Preparedness Kit Checklist
Animal First Aid Kit
Animal Disaster Preparedness Plan
Humane Society USA:
American Society for the Cruelty to Animals:
Shortcut to: FEMA WEB site:
American kennel Club:
Noah’s Wish:
Best Friends:
“Animals in Disaster” is offered by DEMA as a module in Community Emergency Response Training. For information about attending this course or this module visit: Click on Citizen Corps then CERT. Although specific to Delaware, it has some great information.

For detailed information and starter lists see the links above or download the full article at:

Keep On Preppin’

From a 50 Something, soon to be rural homesteading, Prepper ;-}


  1. Hi! I work at the American Red Cross and came across your post - this is an amazing list of disaster preparedness resources for pets.

    You're right in that the Red Cross typically cannot provide for animals in our human shelters, but we do often try to partner with local animal-focused agencies to care for the pets that belong to people affected by a disaster. We encourage everyone to contact their local Red Cross chapter to find out if there is such a partnership in their area - this is just another way to be prepared and know all of your options in an emergency. :)

    Here's a video from the recent floods in Tennessee talking about our partnership with the Nashville Humane Association:


    Gloria Huang
    huangg (at) usa (dot) redcross (dot) org

  2. Thank you for this information ;-} Folks please do check out the video listed above.


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