What to do for your pet's safety in an emergency - BC SPCA
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What to do for your pet’s safety in an emergency

July 26, 2021

It’s a pet guardian’s worst nightmare. Wildfires are encroaching your community and you have to evacuate your home immediately. So often people don’t think about their pet in an emergency situation until it’s too late, especially when you need to leave your home right away. The effect of a lost pet is obviously difficult for both the animal and pet guardian.

Cute puppy dog being held and cuddled by girl

“The connection between a pet and their human is like no other. For so many individuals their pet is a beloved part of the family,” says Ashley Phillips, a Kelowna-based clinical counselor. “The bond can’t be replaced even by another human.”

The experience is just as impactful on a pet when they go missing. In times of a highly stressful event, like a natural disaster, a dog will often experience a type of blind panic in which their “fight or flight” response kicks in, causing them to take off in some cases. Even dogs who are not normally anxious or fearful at home will become terrified when they are lost.

Which is why it’s so important to prepare for the unexpected by providing your pet with identification. In addition to downloading our free Emergency Checklist, Phillips recommends keeping your pet’s information in your “go to” bag in case of emergency.

“Having a ‘to go’ bag ready is essential, which should include everything from your pet’s photographs to their microchip information,” she says. “In that case, if you only have minutes to leave your house, you have all the information you need to help find your pet if they go missing. Knowing that you have all the vital information in your bag will give you the reassurance you need that finding your pet is more than a possibility.”


Ideally, a pet guardian should prepare their pets with two forms of identification.

1. A collar and tag: Keep a collar and tag on your pet with your home phone number and address.
2. A form of permanent ID (microchip or tattoo): Pets can slip their collars at any time, but they can’t slip a permanent ID. Make an appointment with your vet to get your pet a microchip or tattoo today.

Then, register your pet with the BC Pet Registry, B.C.’s first provincial pet ID database, owned and operated by the BC SPCA. Registration guarantees that your pet can be traced by all participating veterinarians and animal sheltering agencies province-wide. This is the best way to ensure your furry friend finds their way home to you.

Register Your Pet

Phillips says having your pet microchipped and registered will give pet guardians peace of mind even when tragedy, like a natural disaster, strikes.
“A part of having your pet microchipped or tattooed is knowing they can be found if something were to happen. The fact that they are microchipped and registered will alleviate anxiety and give pet guardians a sense of security when they need it most.”

Good planning can make all the difference in the event of a disaster. Don’t forget to include your pets in the plan, register your pet and download the free BC SPCA emergency checklist. The checklist outlines everything you will need to ensure your furry family members are safe if disaster strikes.


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