How can I prepare?
Plan to take your pets with you in an evacuation. If it’s not safe for you it’s not safe for them.
- Know which hotels/motels accept pets or will waive their no-pet policy in an emergency. Call ahead to make reservations if you know you will be evacuating.
- Most Red Cross shelters can not accept pets other than service animals.
- Know which friend, relatives, boarding facilities, animal shelters or veterinarians can care for your pets in an emergency. Prepare a list with phone numbers.
- Although your animals may be more comfortable together, be prepared to house them separately.
- Include your pets in evacuation drills, so they become used to entering and traveling in their carriers
- Make sure all vaccinations are current and all cats and dogs are wearing collars with securely fastened up-to-date identification.
What should I do?
Assemble a portable kit with your emergency supplies for your pets.
Keep items in an accessible place and store them in sturdy containers so they can be carried easily. Your kit should include:
- Food: Keep at least 3 days of food in an airtight, water proof container.
- Water: Store at least 3 days of water specifically for your pets, in addition to water needed for your family.
- Medicines: Keep an extra supply of medicines your pet takes on a regular basis in a waterproof container.
- First Aid kit: Most kits should include cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors, antibiotic ointment, flea and tick prevention, latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Include a pet first aid reference book. Talk to your veterinarian about what is most appropriate for your pet’s needs.
- Transportation: Include a back up leash, collar, harness & ID tag. Make sure you have enough crates/ carriers to transport all your pets safely ensuring they can’t get away.
- Important documents: Place copies of your pet’s registration, adoption papers, vaccination documents and medical records in a waterproof container.
- Sanitation: Include pet litter & boxes, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach. You can use bleach as a disinfectant (dilute 9 parts water to 1 part bleach), or in an emergency you can also use it to purify water. Use 8 drops per gallon of water, stir well and let stand 30 minutes before use. Do not use scented or color safe or those with added cleaners.
- Current photo of you with your pet: This can help others identify your pet and help prove ownership if you are separated from your pet. Include detailed information about species, breed, age , sex, color and distinguishing characteristics.
- Boarding information: Fact sheet with your pets name and picture. Include feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, your name and number, the name and number of family/friend who is out of area, and the name and number of your veterinarian.
- Familiar items: If possible take favorite toys and bedding. Familiar items can help reduce stress.
Know what to do as a disaster approaches
- Often warnings are issued hours, even days in advance. At the first hint of disaster act to protect your pets.
- Call ahead to confirm emergency shelter arrangements for you and your pets.
- Ensure that all pets are wearing collars with securely fastened, up-to-date ID.
- Check that your pet disaster supplies are ready to go.
- Bring pets inside so you won’t have to search for them if you need to leave quickly.
After a disaster
- Your pets behavior may change dramatically after a disaster, becoming aggressive or defensive. Be aware of their well-being and protect them from hazards to ensure the safety of other people or animals.
- Watch your animals closely and keep them under your direct control as fences and gates may have been damaged.
- Pets may become disoriented, particularly if the disaster has affected scent markers that normally allow them to find their home.
- Be aware of hazards at nose and paw or hoof level, particularly debris, spilled chemicals, fertilizers and other substances that might not seem dangerous to humans.
- Consult your veterinarian if any behavior problems persist.
Emergency action plans for your family should include ALL your animals
For more information on disaster planning and emergency actions to take for livestock, horses, birds, reptiles, or other small animals, please visit
Humane society at HSUS.org