Don’t forget your pets when planning disasters – Marine Independent Magazine

It’s now common – and frustrating – to learn that our region faces wildfire dangers every year. Small plant fires like the recent fires near Sausalito and Marine City can evoke a sense of dread, if not panic. The recent news of our beloved majestic wildfire threat in Mariposa Grove has been truly frightening and can leave us feeling helpless.

A great way to feel strong in the face of uncertainty and threat is to make sure that you and your family—your pets included—are well prepared for disaster.

The best way to protect your animals is to put them in your plans before disaster strikes. A well-trained disaster plan for you and your pets will not only reduce stress but also save valuable time and lives.

How to prepare

• Confirm the identity of your pet. A collar and identification tags must be worn at all times, and pets must be equipped with an electronic chip.

• Training cage for your pet. You can train your pets by putting their favorite food in the carrier and sounding the bell at the same time. Repeat the process every day until your pet comes running to the sound of the bell. Being able to quickly get your pet into a crate is essential.

• If you evacuate, take your pets with you. Animals left in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. They can escape through damaged areas, such as broken windows. Animals left to fend for themselves are more likely to become victims of exposure, starvation, predators, contaminated food or water, or accidents. Do not leave them tied up inside or outside the home.

• Evacuate early. Don’t wait for mandatory evacuation orders.

As part of your personal and pet response plan, prepare an emergency kit in a weatherproof plastic storage container that includes:

• handlebars

• collars

• ID cards

• water and food

• Medicines and veterinary records

• Pictures of your pet to prove ownership

lost pets

If your animal is lost, call immediately or go to the nearest animal shelter or emergency command center. Post on social media and when you feel safe, go back to your area to post or distribute posters. Keep searching your area for your lost pet – a frightened animal can stay hidden for several days. Set up a feeding station and place the clothes with your scent nearby. Contact neighbors or service workers such as postal companies, police, firefighters, and PG&E workers to get potential clients.

If you find a missing pet, report it to your local animal shelter and provide a full description of the animal and the location. Remember that pets are more likely to be reunited with their parents if they are kept in the county where they were found.

Finally, let’s remember we’re all in this together, so share this information with others and consider reaching out to neighbors who have pets if you think your neighborhood might be evicted.

Pet Food Express, a longtime supporter of Marin Humane and other shelters and rescues across the Bay Area, recently launched a special section of its website dedicated to disaster preparedness. Go to,, or for more important advice.

Let’s make sure our beloved pets are safe, no matter what nature brings us.

Lisa Bloch is Director of Marketing and Communications at Marin Humane, who contributes Tails of Marin articles and welcomes animal questions and stories about the people and animals in our community. Go to or find us on social media @marinhumane or email us at [email protected]

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