Pet Shelters during Disaster and Emergencies Part 3

Benedict “Dinky” de Borja has been a volunteer Firefighter + Medic for the Pateros Filipino-Chinese Volunteer Fire and Rescue Brigade for the last 5 years. He helps Dr. Sixto Carlos on topics such as Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, as well as First Aid.


I would like to continue with our article on the Types of Pet Shelters based on the owner’s decision on where to stay during an emergency or disaster. (PART 1 – PART 2). In the previous issue of this article the owner has decided to stay on-site or “bug-in” at their home wherein a list of items was discussed in order for the pet’s owner to provide an adequate level of comfort and safety for themselves and their family and their pets.

Now in continuing with this article I will discuss the difference if the pet’s owner has decided to leave their home and proceed to an evacuation site. This is also known as “bugging-out”.
To start things off there a couple of factors that might lead to the pet owner to decide to evacuate their current location.
The first factor could be that their home may not have enough resources to sustain the evacuees (family & pets) or could slowly become unstable especially during a prolonged disaster situation.
The second factor could be that the pet’s owners has had an early warning of the emergency or disaster before it occurs and has decided to move from their current location to a more appropriate place or evacuation site.
In either case, the pet’s owners have identified the potential bug-out site before leaving their current location. They must already have made sure that the evacuation site has enough provisions for them and their pets. Otherwise they may need to carry extra provisions as well as other pet-related items as indicated in the lists outlined in the previous issue (Insert link here) or at least be sure that they can have access to those items and provisions at the evacuation site.

Other things to consider when bugging out are the following:

  1. – A vehicle or means of transport that can take the pet’s owners, their family, and their pets to the evacuation site (pet carriers and leashes would be very useful in controlling your pets during transport)
  2. – Other evacuees (people and animals) at the evacuation site. In the Philippines if one is not resourceful enough to have a second home as their evacuation site they normally end up staying with relatives or the local community center or government owned school. The pet’s owners should anticipate the presence of these other evacuees especially when there are children and other pets at the evacuation site that might cause harm to or be harmed by your pet.
  3. – Enough space for your pet to play and exercise. Boredom, depression, and anxiety can make your pets restless and overly defensive. If the pet’s owners find themselves in a community evacuation site the cramped space and the presence of strangers can cause your pets to do harm to others in self-defense.
  4. – Prolonged stay at the evacuation site. In many instances the pet’s owners may need to anticipate an extended stay at their bug-out location. The provision of enough resources (or access to them) must be part of one’s plans in order to minimize the disruption to normal life or at least give a measure of comfort while the emergency or disaster passes.

In both types of Pet Shelters careful planning ahead of an emergency or disaster and anticipation by the pet owners of the potential needs of their family and pets in both situations can lessen the impact of these events on everyone’s lives.
Checklists, guides, and manuals can help pet owners get started on how to create an evacuation plan and what is needed. In creating one’s plan we encourage pet owner’s to run through their plans like a fire drill to discover what’s missing and to fine tune it to fit their needs.
If the pet’s owners are fortunate to have a bug out site that they own we encourage the owners to schedule visits to the site for their whole family as well as their pets. This will get your pet used to the travel to your bug-out site as well as get them familiar to the climate and surroundings of that area.
In the next issue I will be discussing some options that might be open for pet owners that can help them in choosing their pet shelter for their needs.

I hope this was helpful for you. Should you have any questions or concerns I would love to hear from you. Please contact me at and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as I can.
Thanks and Stay Safe.


(photo from Pet disaster plan)

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