Pet Owners

If you are like millions of Americans, pets are important members of your household.



Plan Ahead. 

Preparing now for your pet during a disaster will greatly increase their chance of survival during an emergency such as a natural disaster or terrorist attack.

  • Make sure all identification, medical records, and vaccinations are up to date.
  • Have an emergency supply kit and evacuation plan.


If you must evacuate...

DO NOT leave your pets home alone.  Take them with you. Animals left alone during a disaster are unlikely to survive.  If they do, they may not be there when you return.  Pets may escape through damaged areas such as broken windows and become victims of exposure, predators or starvation.  Leaving a dog chained or tied outside during a disaster is a death sentence.


  • Identify ahead of time which hotels/motels allow pets.  Most shelters cannot permit pets for health reasons
  • Ask family or friends outside of your immediate area if they would be willing to shelter you and your pet during a disaster.
  • Take your emergency supply kit for pets with you.
  • Make sure all identifications are up to date. Consider getting your pet a microchip.  Ask your veterinarian or local animal shelter about the process.  It is easy, fast, and permanent. 

If you are sheltering in place during a disaster...

  • Bring your pets inside immediately.
  • Have newspapers on hand for sanitary purposes. Feed the animals moist or canned food so they will need less water to drink.
  • Animals have instincts about severe weather changes and will often isolate themselves if they are afraid. Bringing them inside early can stop them from running away. Never leave a pet outside or tied up during a storm.
  • Separate dogs and cats. Even if your dogs and cats normally get along, the anxiety of an emergency situation can cause pets to act irrationally. Keep small pets away from cats and dogs.
  • In an emergency, you may have to take your birds with you. Talk with your veterinarian or local pet store about special food dispensers that regulate the amount of food a bird is given. Make sure that the bird is caged and the cage is covered by a thin cloth or sheet to provide security and filtered light.

Emergency Supply Checklist for Pets.

  • Food and water for at least five days for each pet, bowls and a manual can opener if you are packing canned pet food.
  • Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container and a first aid kit. A pet first aid book is also good to include.
  • Cat litter box, litter, garbage bags to collect all pets' waste, and litter scoop.
  • Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and carriers to transport pets safely and to ensure that your pets can't escape. Carriers should be large enough for the animal to stand comfortably, turn around and lie down. Your pet may have to stay in the carrier for hours at a time while you are away from home. Be sure to have a secure cage with no loose objects inside it to accommodate smaller pets. These may require blankets or towels for bedding and warmth, and other special items.
  • Current photos and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them in case you and your pets become separated and to prove that they are yours.
  • Pet beds and toys, if you can easily take them, to reduce stress.
  • Information about your pets' feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in foster care.

In case you are not home during a disaster


An evacuation order may come, or a disaster may strike, when you're at work or out of the house.

  • Make arrangements well in advance for a trusted neighbor to take your pets and meet you at a specified location. Be sure the person is comfortable with your pets and your pets are familiar with him/her, knows where your animals are likely to be, knows where your disaster supplies are kept and has a key to your home.

If you use a pet-sitting service, it may be able to help, but discuss the possibility well in advance.


  • Prepare an evacuation plan for livestock. Your plan should include a list of resources such as trucks, trailers, pasture and/or feed which might be needed in an evacuation, as well as a designated person who will unlock gates and doors and make your facility easily accessible to emergency personnel.
  • Have halters and lead straps available.
  • Have a copy of medical records and a list of necessary medications on hand.
  • If you must leave animals behind, post a highly visible sign (either on a window or a door) letting rescue workers know the type and number of animals which remain. Leave plenty of food and water with care instructions.