Pets are important members of your family, so they should be included in your family’s emergency disaster plan. Preparing for the unexpected is not easy, but the below tips will help you get started.
Prepare Early & Communicate
If you live in an area prone to certain natural disasters, such as tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, or floods, you should plan accordingly and always evacuate early. Below are preemptive steps related to your pet’s safety, but please visit Ready to prepare your entire family.
- Share Your Plan: Once you have created your family disaster plan, ensure everyone within the household knows the details. (i.e., Who is grabbing the supplies? Who is in charge of the checklist? Who is loading up the pets if evacuation is needed?)
- Find a Pet-Friendly Safe Haven: Do not leave your pets behind! Many public shelters and hotels do not allow pets inside, so it is important to find places that will. Please contact [hospital name] at [phone number] or a local animal shelter for a list of pet-friendly locations to consider. You can also ask friends or family members outside your immediate area if they would be willing to take your pet (or your entire family).
- Microchip Your Pet: Collars with ID tags are great, but microchipping your pet adds an extra layer of security and safety. Ensure your contact information for the microchip is always up to date and include an emergency contact outside your immediate area.
- Rescue Alert Stickers: As an extra step, you can order Rescue Alert Stickers to place on your front door and notify people that you have a pet inside.
Assemble Your Emergency Kit
Once you have completed the above, we recommend assembling a family AND pet emergency kit stored near the main exit in your home or vehicle in case evacuation is needed (supplies should be updated at least 1-2x each year, i.e., expirations).
- Container to fit all of the following items + a printed checklist of the below to tape to the lid:
- Food + Water
- Store a minimum of 7-14 days worth of supply of water, pop-top canned or air-tight sealed dry food, and bowls
- Include 2-weeks worth of medication in a child/pet-proof container with clear labeling (name and dose)
- First Aid Supplies
- Collar (with ID Tags), Leash, or Harness
- Traveling Bag, Crate, or Carrier
- Label these items with your preferred animal hospital and owner information
- Grooming Items
- Sanitation Materials
- Litter, litter box, poop bags, pooper scooper
- Copy of Medical Records + Microchip Information
- Familiar Items
- Toy, blanket, or bed
- A Picture of You & Your Pet
- In case you need to make “Lost Pet” posters
- Food + Water
Download and print ASPCA’s checklist here.
If a disaster hits, ensure you and your family stay current on current conditions. Remember to comfort your pet during a disaster. He or she is likely just as frightened as you are, and hugging them will help keep your pet calm (it will probably help you too.) If your pet is not ready to be comforted, do not force it. Let the pet come to you when he or she is ready. Ready.gov suggests the below ways to stay informed:
- Pay attention to wireless emergency alerts for local alerts and warnings sent by state and local public safety officials.
- Listen to local officials when told to evacuate or shelter in place.
- Download the FEMA App and get weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five different locations anywhere in the United States.
- Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster.
For Additional Information
AVMA – Emergency Care – Pets & Disasters
FEMA – Basic Disaster Preparedness