At the height of the Cold War, total extermination was considered a possibility. In which case any beloved domestic pets like dogs and cats would presumably die unless included in the civilian bunker with the family.

enter image description here Source: Fallout Shelter Handbook by Chuck West, 1962.

Do we know from any sources if pets were accommodated for in US, European or USSR fallout shelters?

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    I don't see the historical significance of this. Trivia is off topic. Nov 18 '14 at 14:09
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    @TylerDurden The 1950s/60s are over 50s years ago by now and Social History is definitely within site scope. Nov 18 '14 at 14:11
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    @LateralFractal Why stop at dogs? As long as we are answering these crucial questions of pet history, we may as well establish whether parakeets were adequately provided for. Were there bird cages in bomb shelters? That is obviously an important question, too. And what about hamster and guinea pig habitats and exercise wheels? Were we really adequately prepared in 1954 to preserve the animals of the earth from nuclear annihilation? That is the question history demands an answer to. Nov 18 '14 at 21:51
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    @TylerDurden Hyperbole aside, domesticated pets that we have co-habited with for thousands of years is an enduring and unusual quality of our species. If I want to know just how far we were willing to go to protect our companion species during a crucial cultural phase of history which we believed we might not survive, I think this question has merit under the social history discipline. Keep in mind that "trivial" has two definitions (trivial=easy to answer) & (trivial=not worth answering). The second is very subjective and I've provided reasons why historiography isn't that narrow. Nov 18 '14 at 22:21
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    I think many families would vote in Fido over one unlucky sibling if polled in a secret ballot.
    – Oldcat
    Nov 19 '14 at 0:25

Well at least there is social commentary in the form of cartoons. St. Louis Post-Dispatch cartoonist Bill Mauldin drew a cartoon of a dog with its own personal fallout shelter, which was widely reprinted.

On the fallout shelter debate Mauldin observed, “The government provided plans for do-it-yourselfers, and speculators got rich selling family-size sections of sawed-off highway drainage pipe. Even pets were provided for in the mass interment program.” From Bill Mauldin, "I’ve Decided I Want My Seat Back" (New York: Harper and Row, 1965).

On farm animals: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bunker-Type Fallout Shelter for Beef Cattle, Miscellaneous Publication no. 947 (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1964). This government publication notes that “this shelter provides low-cost and adequate radiation protection for unattended farm animals. Although designed primarily for beef cattle, the shelter could be modified for use by sheep, hogs, or poultry.”

Source- One Nation Underground: The Fallout Shelter in American Culture


Here in the UK, a network of bunkers were built and maintained into the 1990's - mostly by the MOD.

Unfortunately for us plebs, the vast majority of these bunkers were not intended for use by the general public. Instead the bunkers were intended to be used by local council members, police chiefs, government ministers, military personnel and, of course, the Royal Family.

More impressive were about 30 huge regional bunkers, each capable of sheltering hundreds of people. Here it was hoped that key MPs, police chiefs and other VIPs would be able to retreat to begin the task of fighting back and rebuilding the country. - Express.co.uk

That isn't to say that a number of ordinary people wouldn't have been able to gain access to these regional bunkers in case of attack, the largest had room for 6,000 people, but the vast majority of us would have been left to fend for ourselves.

A series of leaflets, radio broadcasts and public information films were circulated throughout the 1970's and 1980's called "Protect and Survive". These instructed the general public on what steps to take should the UK have been attacked.

Protect and Survive

Examples can be seen all over the web with a simple google search, but the advice included building shelters using cushions, and closing windows. Steps that would have given you something to do, but not have provided any long, or most likely short, term protection.

Seeing as, for the most part, the general population was expected to basically fend for itself until the regional control centres could begin to enact the various plans (that are likely still classified) it seems unlikely that pets were accounted for at all.

  • I fully agree with your argument but this doesn't answer the question. The question explicitly asks, "Do we know from any sources?" (emphasis in original), not "Can we deduce from general levels of shelter provision?" Dec 6 '14 at 17:43

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