Planning for Pets

We love our Pets

Disaster planning for pets is just as important as planning for other members of our household.

Kitten in Child's Arms

When a disaster strikes the last thing we want is to leave our pets behind and vulnerable to the elements.

It is critical to have a pet plan in place ahead of time because most pets, other than service animals, usually are not permitted in public shelters or other places where food is served.

Disaster Plan for Your Pets

ER Emergency Ready Deluxe Survival Kit for a Dog Buy a Survival Kit for your Dog Buy a  Survival Kit for your Cat

Please watch this video on the importance of disaster planning for pets, the consequences of not having a plan and lessons learned from recent disasters. The first 15 seconds is a little blah, but it really does have some great information.

Evacuating with Pets

Planning for pets includes knowing where you would
take your pets if you had to go to a public shelter
where pets are not permitted.

There are many communities developing emergency animal shelters similar to shelters for people.

Click here for a directory of the Humane Society locations near you. Contact your local agency to find out if they have created emergency animal shelters.

Other Options: Create a list of options and keep it with your pet disaster kit.

Ask your veterinarian if they will accept your pet in an emergency.

Consider asking friends or relatives if they will take your pets in an emergency.

Check the local boarding facilities to see if they take pets in emergencies.

Contact motels and hotels in communities outside of your area and find out if they will accept pets in an emergency.

Click here to access a Directory of Pet Friendly Hotels. Simply select a state and city and the directory will populate a list of local motels, hotels, bed & breakfasts, and inns where your pets are welcome.

Remember – If you must leave your pets at home decide on a safe location in your house where you could leave your pet in an emergency. Leave a note on your front door indicating there are pets still in the house.

Pet Disaster Kit

Watch this short video on what items you should have in your Basic Pet First Aid Kit .

Here is a great checklist you can print out and keep with your Pet Emergency Kit.

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Pet List Worksheet for Kids

Preparing Your Pets for Disasters

If you don't have a pet carrier, you will need to get one. The best kind will be one which allows your pet to move around freely. If possible, get it ahead of time so your pet has time to acclimate to it.

To do this, you can feed your pet, play with your pet or just put some of your pet's favorite things inside the carrier.

Planning for Pets During a Disaster Planning for Pets

If you have to take your pet to a shelter, you are required to have: A name tag and a rabies tag attached to a collar, a leash, plenty of food and water along with bowls for each, all medications your pet takes with instructions, a carrier or cage, favorite toys, a pet blanket or towel and trash bags for clean-up. Make sure all of your items are clearly marked with your identification and your pet's name.

Pet shelters will be filled on first come, first served basis. Call ahead and determine availability.

If severe weather threatens, don't leave your pets outside. Animals get scared, too. Let them stay inside your home.

Planning for Pets After a Disaster

Most towns and cities have leash laws so you will probably be walking your pets with a leash anyway, but just in case, use a leash especially after a disaster because animals will need some extra time to transition to being back at home if they have been in a shelter or inside the home for a long period of time. Also, if the neighborhood has changed much, they might not know their way around anymore.

If your pet has been lost due to a disaster, contact your local animal control center. If you have a picture of your pet, that will assist animal control officers in locating your pet, too.

Be cautious with pets – or any animals – after a disaster as difficult and stressful situations can alter their behavior just like it would ours. If something seems out of the ordinary, keep an eye on them. Take them to a vet if you think something is seriously wrong.

Pet Carriers That Work

Here's a soft-sided pet carrier that comes highly recommended. It works for animals up to 22 pounds and has a washable fleece interior. You can carry it on planes, too. It is made of very sturdy material. Bergan Comfort Carrier Soft-Sided Pet Carrier, Large, Black

This pet carrier is hard sided and includes bowls for food and water. It is very easy to clean and is extremely durable. The best thing about this carrier is that it is more open than most others allowing pets to view more of the world around them, so they don't get as scared or anxious. It is for smaller pets. Suncast 23-Inch Pet Carrier Round