June 10, 2024

PetSmart Charities and American Red Cross Celebrate Pet Preparedness Month

PetSmart Charities – the leading funder of animal welfare in the U.S. – is teaming up with the American Red Cross, a nonprofit humanitarian organization, for National Pet Preparedness Month to ensure pet parents are ready when disaster strikes. June marks the start of hurricane and wildfire season across the country, making it imperative to have an emergency plan for the whole family, including our pets.

According to PetSmart Charities, 90 percent of pet parents surveyed said they wouldn’t leave their home during a disaster if they couldn’t bring their pets with them. Pet parents also said they would give up a spot in a shelter if they couldn’t stay there with their pets. One of PetSmart Charities’ goals is to keep the whole family together by supporting pet parents with planning before an emergency arises so they are better prepared for disasters.

Through PetSmart Charities’ continued support of the Red Cross as a member of the Annual Disaster Giving Program, which includes a three-year commitment of more than $2 million in grant funding, pets are now recorded as part of the family upon intake at Red Cross shelters and during case management to ensure families remain intact. The funding also supports pet specific services and resources during an emergency.

The integration of pet tracking into RC Care, the Red Cross client management system, allows the organization to provide services to all family members in disaster situations while also creating pet-centric training and sheltering models with disaster response staff and volunteers. The collaboration with PetSmart Charities has helped the Red Cross make informed decisions regarding disaster response related to pets and helped ensure the needs of people and their pets affected by disasters big and small across the U.S. are met. In 2023 alone, the Red Cross facilitated nearly 35,000 overnight stays for pets in shelters.

“Pets are part of the family and, during an emergency, it’s important to plan for their needs, too,” said Aimee Gilbreath, president of PetSmart Charities. “Our partnership with the Red Cross continues our 30-year legacy of helping pets in the ways they need it most. The steps we have taken together to include pets in disaster planning, response and recovery aim to ensure that pets and people can stay together during times of crisis – this not only saves pets’ lives but also the lives of the people who love them and may not accept shelter space if it doesn’t include their pets.”

For Pet Preparedness Month, PetSmart Charities has developed a checklist to help prepare for and navigate the process of evacuating a disaster area with your pet, including:

  • Identification and Documentation: Keep updated electronic and printed photos and copies of your pets’ identification tags, medical records, vaccination records and essential medications in a water and fireproof container.
  • Emergency Supplies: Store necessary emergency supplies for your pet like food and water, first aid supplies, crates, carriers, leashes/harnesses and sanitation needs, such as litter boxes and waste bags.
  • Temporary Shelter: Identify the places and spaces you can bring your pet like pet-friendly hotels, friends or family members’ homes and local animal shelters or veterinary clinics for temporary housing options. All Red Cross shelters have planning and placement for pets during an emergency through support from PetSmart Charities.
  • Transportation: Plan how you will transport your pet during an evacuation. Keep necessary tethers/seat belts on-hand.
  • Practice and Preparation: Practice evacuating with your pet, using different routes and methods of transportation and learn how to help your pet if they are injured by downloading the Red Cross Pet First Aid app or taking the Red Cross Pet First Aid course.
  • Stay Informed: Keep a list of emergency, family and work contacts and refer to local social media sites for official information from emergency management agencies, such as your local Red Cross.

“The American Red Cross responds to about 65,000 disasters across the country every year and time and time again we’ve seen how emotionally connected people are to their pets and how important it is that they prepare in advance of disasters,” said Jennifer Pipa, vice president of Disaster Programs for the American Red Cross. “As our partnership with PetSmart Charities grows, we’re looking to help people develop a plan for their entire family — including their pets — to ensure they can stay connected throughout disaster response and relief efforts. Through our work together, our goal is to best serve all family members during times of crisis.”

For more information on evacuation preparations, keeping pets safe during a crisis and to download a pet preparedness checklist, visit PetSmart Charities here. For more information on PetSmart Charities, please visit PetSmart.

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