Tips to Find Your Displaced Pet in the Aftermath of a Natural Disaster


Now that Hurricane Florence has rained down on the Carolinas, she has left many families anxiously searching for their beloved pets. Natural disasters can be just as traumatic for animals as people, in some cases, even more so since they cannot prepare or communicate like we can. But, where do these pets go after a natural disaster strikes? Where do pet parents even begin to look when their cities and homes are flooded, full of debris or washed away or burnt to the ground?

First, survey your home and its surrounding property (under beds, in closets, dark and/or small places, garages, sheds, etc.). Many dogs and cats that have gone into hiding are too scared to come out and may actually seem to be lost for days, which is why this is the foremost important place to check first. If your pet still appears to be missing, then immediately alert your neighbors and neighborhood watch outlets to see if perhaps someone close by has seen your pet, or even better, may have taken them into their care. Posting ads or flyers are always an extra helpful step, too!

Next in your search is to email your local friends, colleagues and family members about your missing pet and ask them to forward the information to anyone they can. Also share on your social media networks, including Next Door, being sure to share details about your pet and a recent photo. Many communities have “lost/found pet” Facebook pages where members can post information about dogs and cats that are missing or found. You’ll want to closely monitor new postings in case someone finds your furry friend.

In addition, it’s important to contact your local City Animal Services, shelters, rescues, veterinary offices and temporary pet disaster relief groups. They have had years of practice in areas prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and wildfires, on how to make more room for displaced pets and otherwise animals that are just plain lost when disaster strikes. An important thing to remember is that they are most likely extremely busy to answer every phone call during such a time, so the best thing to do is visit as much as possible.

Also keep in mind that animal welfare organizations work together throughout a widespread radius, so don’t get discouraged if your dog or cat isn’t at the closest shelter near you.

This is the info you should be giving to all of the above:

  • Breed
  • Coat color/length, including any distinctive markings
  • Size/Weight
  • Age
  • Gender (is the pet neutered or spayed?)
  • Ear type (pointed, long, short or droopy)

One in six domestic dogs and cats will go missing at some point in their lifetime, and a natural disaster only increases those numbers. By registering your dog or cat for FREE on Finding Rover, you’ve just given your pet another chance to find home, using facial recognition technology to do a lot of the searching for you. Don’t wait until disaster strikes again. Be proactive and upload your dog and cat TODAY!

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