|Disaster Preparedness for Pets
When disaster strikes, always keep your pets with you.
If it isnít safe for you to stay put, it isnít safe for your pets.
Small Animal Evacuation Kit
Water is essential to Life
Be Prepared to Have Adequate Supplies of Water
Available at ALL times!
2 week supply of food (dry or canned) per
animal (if canned a manual can opener may be needed)
Always have a reserve supply of the type of food
your pet is used to eating. If your pet eats canned food, buy
cans small enough to be used at one feeding since you may not
have a way to properly refrigerate any left over food. Store
food in an airtight, waterproof container and rotate food at
least every three months. Record the diet for each animal,
including what NOT TO FEED, in case of allergies
Food and water dish - plus 1 extra, in
case one is lost or misplaced
Spoon or scoop to measure and/or mix food
2 week supply of water per animal
o A 10 lb animal drinks 1 pint (16 fluid ounces) of water per
o A 20 lb animal drinks 1 quart of water per day
o A 50 lb animal drinks Ĺ gallon of water per day
1 carrier/cage per animal, labeled with
emergency contact information. The crate must be large enough
for your pet to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably
and allow room for a food and water dish (and litter pan if
A proper fitting collar or harness and
identification tags should be kept on each pet at ALL times -
and a sturdy 6 foot long leash for each dog should be readily
Have a spare identification tag with your
disaster supplies that you can write on. If you are going to be
living somewhere temporarily you can put the address and
telephone number of that location on each petís tag or the
contact information of a close friend or relative that would
take responsibility for your pet(s) if necessary. This is a
stressful time for animals and a frightened dog can slip out of
a collar, but not a harness. If you donít want to use a harness,
along with the sturdy leash, you should have a slip lead that
goes around the petís neck. Again, this reduces the chances of a
pet slipping his/her collar 2 week supply of medications - list
each animal separately along with the name of that petís
medication, the dose and frequency given. Provide veterinary
hospital and pharmacy telephone numbers for refills.
Pet first aid kit
Cat litter, liners and litter pan, if
Plastic bags to handle waste
Cleaning supplies, paper towels, soap
(for food and water bowl) and disinfectant (cleaning
Toys and special comfort items (toy,
blanket, small bed, etc.)
Muzzle, if necessary
Proof of pet ownership - current pictures
(with and without family members in the photo for proof of
guardianship), copies of adoption papers, registration papers,
proof of purchase, microchip/tattoo numbers and registry phone
numbers. List each of your animals indicating their
species/breed, age, sex, whether neutered/spayed, color and any
Veterinary records - vaccination history
(types of vaccines and dates given) - current rabies certificate
- important test results (FeLV, FIV, Heartworm) - list any
current or previous medical conditions
Lost animal posters with emergency
contact information and the petís picture - just in case a pet
escapes and you have no way to print up flyers
List of important emergency contacts and
1. Numbers where you can be reached (pager, cell phone, work
2. Your prearranged evacuation site
3. Local contact person in case of emergency when you are not
available - who will take responsibility for your animal(s)
4. Out-of-state contact person in case of emergency when you are
not available Ė who will take responsibility for your animal(s)
5. Your veterinarian
6. Local Animal Control/Services
7. Local animal shelter / humane society / SPCA
8. Local police department
9. Local fire department
10. Local Red Cross chapter
11. United States Department of Agriculture Missing Pet Network
These contact numbers can be used by rescue
personnel responding to a disaster affecting your animals, a
neighbor or pet sitter or by you during a disaster or an
evacuation. Keep one copy near your telephone and one copy in
your animal evacuation kit. Indicate the number of animals that
need to be rescued that live in your home and their favorite
hiding spots. Instruct where your house capture or restraint
equipment is and the location of animal carriers/crates.
Hurricanes, floods, wildfires, hazardous
Disasters can strike anytime, anywhere
If you think you will never have to evacuate unless you live in
a flood plain, near an earthquake fault line or in a coastal
area, you may be tragically mistaken. It is imperative that you
make preparations to evacuate your family and your pets in any
situation. In the event of a disaster, proper preparation will
pay off with the safety of your family and pets.
1- If you evacuate, Take your Pets
The single most important thing you can do to protect your pets
is to take them with you when you evacuate. Animals left behind
in a disaster can easily be injured, lost or killed. Animals
left inside your home can escape through storm damaged areas,
such as broken windows. Animals turned loose to fend for
themselves are likely to become victims of exposure, starvation,
predators, contaminated food or water, or accidents. Leaving
dogs tied or chained outside in a disaster is a death sentence.
2 - Find a Safe Place Ahead of Time
If you leave, even if you think that you may be gone only for
a few hours, take your animals. Once you leave, you have no way
of knowing how long youíll be kept out of the area, and you may
not be able to go back for your pets.
Leave early - donít wait for a mandatory evacuation order. An
unnecessary trip is far better than waiting too long to leave
safely with your pets. If you want to be evacuated by emergency
officials, you may be told to leave your pets behind.
3 - As the Disaster Approaches
- Because evacuation shelters generally donít accept pets (except
for service animals), you must plan ahead to ensure that your
family and pets will have a safe place to stay. Donít wait until
disaster strikes to do your research.
- Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to check
policies on accepting pets. Ask about any restrictions on
number, size, and species. Ask if ďno petĒ policies will be
waived in an emergency. Make a list of pet-friendly places and
keep it handy. Call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think
you might have to leave your home.
- Check with friends, family, or others outside your immediate
area. Ask if they would be able to shelter you and your animals
or just your animals, if necessary. If you have more than one
pet, you might have to be prepared to house them separately.
- Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinary offices
that might be able to shelter animals in emergencies; include
24-hour telephone numbers.
- Ask your local animal shelter if it provides foster care or
shelter for pets in an emergency. This should be your last
resort, as shelters have limited resources and are likely to be
stretched to their limits during an emergency.
Donít wait until the last minute to get ready. Warnings of
hurricanes or other disasters may be issued hours, or even days,
4 - After the Storm
- Call to confirm emergency shelter arrangements for you and
- Bring pets into the house and confine them so you can leave
with them quickly if necessary. Make sure each pet and pet
carrier has up-to-date identification and contact information.
Include information about your temporary shelter location.
- Make sure your disaster supplies are ready to go, including your
pet disaster kit.
Planning and preparation will help you weather the disaster, but
your home may be a very different place afterward, whether you
have taken shelter at home or elsewhere.
- Donít let pets roam loose. Familiar landmarks and smells might
be gone, and your pet will probably be disoriented. Pets can
easily get lost in such situations.
- For a few days, keep dogs on leashes and keep cats in carriers
inside the house. If your house is damaged, they could escape
and become lost.
- Be patient with your pets after a disaster. Try to get them
back into their normal routines as soon as possible, and be
ready for behavioral problems that may result from the stress of
the situation. If behavioral problems, persist, or if your pet
seems to be having any health problems, talk to your
You may not be in a flood zone or have to flee wildlife, but
even a hazardous material incident on a nearby street could
force you to evacuate. It pays to be prepared!
Alternate Plans in Case of a Disaster
What happens if you canít get home?
1. Keep current identification information on all of your pets,
even if they are totally indoors
2. Leave extra water
o water is more essential than food
o Leave an extra bowl; consider an automatic waterer
o donít close the toilet lid
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