Pets and earthquakes. After a major earthquake or other natural disaster, many relief shelters will not allow your pets to accompany you.  If you are like my family and me, our dog and cat are very much a part of our family and it’s unthinkable we would leave them behind unattended. So what can you do?

A good place to start is the City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department flyer on preparedness for pets and service animals available on our Disaster Resources page.

Another good thing to do will be to get a free Rescue Alert sticker from the ASPCA which lets first responders know that pets are inside your home in the event no one is there when a disaster strikes.

If you haven’t microchipped your pets, you may want to consider that. Even if your pet wears a collar and identifying tag, a microchip will make it much easier to reunite with your pet if they wander away and their collar somehow comes off.

Be sure to have your pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations and that their tags reflect this. Those relief shelters that do accept pets may not if you can’t prove your pets are current with their shots.

If you plan on leaving the area and staying at a motel/hotel, check out PetsWelcome.com for a list of lodgings that are pet friendly.

If you do plan to stay at a shelter or in your home, but for some reason it is not possible or practical to keep your pets with you, make sure you have identified an out-of-town friend or family member who will board your furry family members until you can take them back.

Last, but certainly not least, make an Emergency Pet Pack that includes the following: leash and/or pet carrier, water bowl, food bowl, food and water for 7 days, zip lock bag with medications, copies of vaccination and medical records, and photo of your pet. You can store everything but the pet carrier in an easy to carry 5 gallon plastic paint pail with lid available at most hardware and DIY stores. Of course, if you have a pet carrier, you can simply store everything in that.

Hopefully, with a little advanced preparation, you can minimize the stress of dealing with pets and earthquakes.