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5 Things To Do To Keep Your Pets Safe During Flash Floods


Written by Adam Lee-Smith

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 08/05/2021, edited: 08/06/2021


While you may not think flash floods are as scary as other natural disasters, they pose a real threat to your family's safety. The National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) states that flooding poses a greater threat to human life than hurricanes or tornadoes. In 2019, 92 people died as a result of flooding in the US. 

From burst river banks to dam failures, every state in the US is at risk of major damage from flash flooding. So, if you live near a river or in an area prone to flooding, it's essential to keep your whole family prepared for floods, including your fur-babies. Read on to find out 5 things to do to keep your pets safe during flash floods.

Keep up-to-date with your dog's vaccinations and tags

During any natural disaster, it's easy to become separated from your pets, so it's essential to keep your fur-babies up-to-date with their vaccinations. 

Your pet may come into contact with other animals either during an evacuation or if they run off. If another animal bites your pet, they could contract rabies

Your pet may also contract leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that could damage the kidneys and other organs. Leptospirosis is usually spread through contaminated stagnant water or infected urine. Stagnant water is also the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, which spread a number of parasites, like heartworm.

If separated from your pet, microchips and ID tags are vital. If your fur-baby gets taken to a shelter or picked up by a stranger, a microchip will tell them the address the pet is registered to so you can be reunited with your furry friend.

Prepare a pet disaster kit

Being well-prepared for a disaster can shave minutes off your evacuation time, potentially saving lives. Therefore, it's a great idea to prepare a pet disaster kit so you don't have to pack at the last minute. Your pet disaster prepare kit could include:

  • A sturdy pet carrier

  • Fresh bottled water

  • Canned pet food

  • Food and water bowls

  • Blankets

  • A pet first aid kit

  • A leash

  • Extra collar and ID tags

  • Vaccination records

  • Portable litter tray/doggy bags

All pets are different, so think about your pet's specific needs while creating a pet disaster kit. For example, if your dog has health concerns, you'll want to pack some additional medication. Check ready.gov for an extensive list of what to include in your pet disaster kit. 

Create a neighborhood buddy system

As the name suggests, flash floods can happen at a moment's notice. So, a flash flood could strike while you're at work or out of town and your pets are at home. 

It's a good idea to set up a neighborhood buddy system so you have peace of mind while you're not at home. Pick a couple of pet parent neighbors you know and trust and create a buddy system so you can watch out for each other's pets and rescue them in an emergency. 

It's also a good idea to place "pet inside" stickers on your windows to inform emergency services that there's a pet that needs rescuing. These stickers have space where you can fill out important information about you and your pets.

Practice evacuating with your pets

When evacuating a flash flood, practice makes perfect. Pets, especially cats, can be very skittish and difficult to put into a carrier, so it's wise to crate train your pets in advance. 

By practicing an evacuation, your pet will begin to think it's normal and won't be as freaked out during an actual evacuation. The calmer your pet is, the better, as they're less likely to run off, hide, or become anxious

Practicing an evacuation with your pet every few months should help get them used to the experience. Practice will also help you evacuate quickly during an actual emergency.

Keep a list of pet-friendly emergency shelters

Unfortunately, most emergency shelters don't allow pets unless your pet is a service animal under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). When preparing your pets for a flash flood, it's essential you compile a list of pet-friendly shelters and accommodation.  

It's a good idea to contact your local branch of the Humane Society or the American Red Cross to see if they know of any pet-friendly shelters nearby. You should also ask your vet if they know of any pet-friendly shelters. 

A list of pet-friendly hotels is also a good idea. If you're out of ideas, consider asking a family member or friend if you can stay with them temporarily.

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