Pets and Emergency Preparedness

How to Prepare for Pet Evacuation in an Emergency


We’ve all seen enough natural disasters over the last few years to know that it’s likely our family, including our pets, will be affected by such an emergency. Pet owners are more likely to evacuate a potentially dangerous situation if they are able to take their pets with them. Having a plan in place prior to a natural disaster is vital for ensuring a calm and successful evacuation.

Step 1: In advance of a natural disaster, find out where you can seek shelter with your pet. If you’re lucky, this will be a family member’s or friend’s home outside of your city. Also, have a list of hotels and motels that are pet friendly.

Step 2: If you have to separate from your pet, find out which animal shelters, veterinarian hospitals, and boarding kennels will accept pets in an evacuation. If you have more than one pet, do your best to keep them together as this will reduce their level of anxiety.

Step 3: Pack at least 3 days of pet food and water in an airtight container that can be easily transported. Also, think about the sanitation materials you need for your pet. Don’t forget to pack litter if you have a cat, wood shavings for a hamster, plastic bags for disposal of waste, etc.

Step 4: Prepare a first aid kit. Ask your vet what items should be included based on the type of pet that you have. Also include a pet first aid book.

Step 5: Package your pet’s medicine, medical records, identification tags and leash in a waterproof container.

Step 6: Plan to take your pet’s crate and some familiar items such as a blanket or special toy. Again, this will reduce your pet’s level of anxiety.

Step 7: Carry a recent picture of your pet in case you become separated from him and need to identify him later.

Step 8: When it becomes time to evacuate your home, be sure to leave a notice on your window or door that indicates you’ve evacuated with your pet. If you already have a sticker in your window that tells how many pets are in the home, simply write “Evacuated” across the sticker. This will help relieve rescue personnel when they are searching your neighborhood throughout the disaster.

By taking the time now to prepare for a potential evacuation, you’ve reduced the level of stress that accompanies such a situation.

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