Protecting your pet
Natural disasters and emergencies happen quickly, and often we are not fully prepared. Being properly equipped to meet the needs of your family - including our four-legged loved ones - when an emergency does strike, is crucial. Think ahead and take steps now to be prepared. You'll feel better knowing you've planned for what to do before, during and after a major storm or unexpected emergency. The San Antonio Humane Society has compiled this page of resources to help our community members guard their pets' health and safety in the event of a disaster or emergency.
Before a disaster strikes:
- Make sure your pet is microchipped and the registration is up-to-date.
- Keep your pets vaccinations current and your paperwork easily accessible. Pet shelters may require proof of vaccines.
- Be sure to keep a collar with proper identification and rabies tag on your pet.
- Spay or neuter your pet so it won't become pregnant or impregnate other animals if becomes lost in an emergency.
- Research and make a list of potential refuges for your pet including shelters, veterinary clinics, friends and relatives.
- Make a list of pet friendly hotels/motels. You can download and print our list of San Antonio area pet-friendly hotels for help.
- Pet owners should keep an emergency pet supply kit on hand at all times. Use a waterproof, easily transportable container.
During a disaster:
- Bring your pets inside well in advance of a storm.
- Never leave a pet chained outside.
- Pets can become frightened by unfamiliar noises. Keeping your pet within sight when possible will reassure him.
- Never tranquilize your pets. It might inhibit their natural survival instincts needed to escape potential danger.
- If you are instructed to evacuate, bring your pets with you! If animals are left behind they may get injured or lost. List of pet friendly hotels in San Antonio can be and also on this page.
- Have your pet emergency kit at hand.
After a disaster:
- Help re-orient your pets to their home by walking them on a leash. They may be confused or lost if landmarks and familiar scents are altered.
- Be on the look out for downed power lines, debris and reptiles brought in with high water that could pose danger.
- Contact your local animal control office if a pet is missing to find out where lost animals can be recovered. Bring a recent picture of your pet, tattoo number or microchip number.
- Don't allow your pet to drink water or eat food that may have been contaminated.
- Animals can become aggressive or defensive after a disaster. Monitor their behavior and contact your veterinarian with questions if it does not subside.
Pet safety in the aftermath:
- In the days and weeks that follow a natural disaster, displaced people and companion animals face many dangers. Many natural disasters create hazardous, life-threatening situations for helpless strays and displaced pets.
- Homes, landmarks and familiar scents that animals use to find their way home or recognize safe areas can simply vanish after a disaster. This causes disorientation, panic and stress, and leads dogs and cats seeking refuge into hazardous situations.
- Floodwaters contaminated with waste and bacteria can cause intestinal parasites and gastroenteritis. Most forms of water borne bacteria are transmittable to both animals and humans, resulting in widespread infection.
- Animals trying to swim in floodwaters can quickly become exhausted and drown.
- Floating hazards such as building materials, tree limbs and street signs can cause severe injury to animals and result in infections.
- Downed power lines and the extension of water hazards expand the territories of alligators and snakes that pose a deadly threat to pets.
- In addition to water supplies, food sources become contaminated as well. Displaced dogs and cats are frightened, thirsty and very hungry and do not understand that they should steer clear of standing water and any food they may find.