BC SPCA reminds guardians of the importance of having a plan for their pets

May 7th, 2024

The BC SPCA wants to remind guardians during emergency preparedness week and National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day on May 11, that when they make an emergency plan for their family, they need to plan for their pets too.

          “Making a plan for your pet not only ensures their safety, it also plays a role in the safety of emergency responders and families,” says Bill Penhallurick, the BC SPCA’s manager of emergency response. “Studies have shown that having pets was the most significant reason households failed to evacuate during major events and the risk of not evacuating nearly doubled with each additional animal in the home.”

          Penhallurick adds during a wildfire evacuation there often isn’t much time to get out of your home and on the road. There are a lot of open doors and noises that can scare your pet and cause them to run away. “Something as simple as making sure you have sturdy carriers for your pets to safely contain them while you get ready to leave can make a huge difference,” says Penhallurick. “Often, with only minutes to evacuate, there is no time to look for a dog or cat and having to leave your beloved pet behind only adds to the trauma of an evacuation.”

          That is why Penhallurick reminds pet guardians to ensure their pets have a registered microchip with current contact information so that if they do go missing, they can be more easily reunited with their family. He also recommends having a grab and go container with a two-to-four-week supply of food, water, and treats, plus bowls, as well as your pet’s medications and medical records. “People forget that during an emergency accessing a pet store for food and supplies may be impossible,” he says. The BC SPCA has a number of resources on their website to help guardians prepare for an evacuation including an emergency checklist.

          In past emergency response efforts, the BC SPCA has helped find, feed, and reunite hundreds of farm and companion animals and have provided pet food and supplies to pet guardians forced out of their homes.

          Penhallurick also wants to remind people of the other ways the BC SPCA can help during an emergency. “During an evacuation our animal centres are always prepared to provide free emergency pet boarding,” he says. “Finding accommodation during a mass evacuation can be really challenging and adding a pet, or multiple, to the mix can make it almost impossible. Emergency boarding through the BC SPCA means we take these pets into our care temporarily while evacuees find a place to stay. We welcome visits from the guardians and even provide updates on how their pets are doing while in our care. There is no limit to the pet’s length of stay.”

          For more information, visit spca.bc.ca

Categories: General