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Disaster Preparedness for Pets

Disasters and emergencies don’t just affect you; they affect your entire family including the furry, scaled, and feathers members as well. Don’t forget your pets rely on you and this is even more so the case when it comes to an emergency situation. Pet preparedness means having the supplies and plan ensure your pets receive the care they need before, during, and after an emergency. Below are our suggestions on how to prepare you emergency kit for your pets and build a plan that includes them.


Building an Emergency Kit for Your Pet

Remember to include enough supplies for your pet to last as long as the rest of your family. Most recommend being two weeks ready in the event of a regional disaster, which means including enough food, water, medication, and other supplies for you pet for at least two weeks. If you have special concerns about your pet you can always reach out to your local vet to help you decide what supplies might be right for your best friend.

  • Leashes, collars, and/or harnesses
  • Pet carrier for transportation
  • Food, water, bowls, & can opener
  • Medications including prescriptions and 1-moth flea, tick, and heart-worm meds
  • Feeding & medication schedules
  • First aid kit
  • For cats: litter box, litter, and scoop
  • Paper towels, disinfectant, plastic bags garbage bag and/or waterproof container for cleaning accidents
  • Recent photos of your pets and description (breed, sex, color)
  • Copies of medical records
  • Microchip documentation/information
  • Personal contact information
  • Familiar toys or bedding for comfort


Make an Emergency Plan

Planning ahead helps enable you to make rational and practical decisions during an emergency situation, taking the guess work out of what you should do.

  • Understand your risk: Make sure you know what disasters are most likely to affect you where you live and the risks that they pose to your pets.
  • Keep you pet up-to-date on all vaccinations and keep a copy of all medical records.
  • Ensure your pets wear some form of identification at all times and/or consider micro-chipping. If you have your pet micro-chipped make sure it is properly registered with your most up to date contact information.
  • Determine a safe shelter in place location: If evacuation is not necessary of feasible determine which rooms in your home will be safest for you animals. Just like for humans, you’ll want this room to have as few as possible potential hazards.
  • Have a place for your pet to stay: In the event of evacuation many shelters, such as Red Cross shelters, won’t accept pet unless they are properly documented as a service animal. Find facilities such as veterinary clinics, animal hospitals, kennels, or even hotels which are willing to accept pets during and emergency.
  • Identify an individual who will collect you pet: Disaster can strike at any time. Meaning you may or may not be home with your pet. In this case chose a family member, trusted friend, or neighbor who can check on, collect, and help transport your pet if needed.
  • If you have a dog who regularly attends doggy daycare make sure to have an emergency contact listed and understand any emergency plans the facility has.
  • Practice your emergency plan: Like you should do with your human family members you should also practice evacuating your home with your pet.

 Need help putting together a Family Emergency Plan check out our article here!

More Resources:

Human Society: Pet disaster preparedness

American Red Cross: Pet Disaster Preparedness

CDC: Pet Safety in Emergencies

ASPCA: Disaster Preparedness