Disaster Planning for Pets

Planning Saves Lives

Whether it's a hurricane, flood or chemical spill, if you have pets, some special planning could save their lives.

Emergency Pet Supplies

Every year you should check your emergency pet supplies. The start of hurricane season is a good time. While you check your people preparations, you can check your pet preparations.


Your pet should always wear identification, but it is especially important during disasters. Check tags and make sure the information is current. Does your veterinarian have your current phone number and address? Is it time to microchip your pet? Do it now!


A sturdy leash, harness and muzzle for larger dogs and a well-ventilated, plastic carrier for small dogs and cats. Don't forget a carrier for your bird or hamster. Is the carrier in good repair? Make sure all items have your name and emergency phone number written on them in permanent ink.


Food/water bowls, cat litter, litter box (that fits into the carrier) and a three-day supply of pet food and water. Towels, blanket, newspapers, and trash bags will also come in handy. It's usually a good idea to bring along a few toys or comfort items to relieve boredom.


A watertight container for medical records, medications, and current photographs of your pets. Also include the name and phone number of your veterinarian, and the name and phone number of a relative or alternate care-taker in case you are injured and unable to care for your pets.

1st Warning

At the first sign of an impending disaster, check all your supplies. Put them in one central location. If you need to leave quickly, you don't want to be searching through the garage for supplies.

Bring your pets indoors and confine them to a small, comfortable area where you can reach them easily.

Check your evacuation route and confirm your shelter arrangements. Remember, most human shelters don't take pets. Make your accommodation plans far in advance and have your route and places to stay arranged.

If You Evacuate

  • Do it early
  • Take all your pets
  • Make sure pets are safely contained
  • All pets must wear identification
  • Take your emergency supplies

If You Ride out the Emergency at Home

Keep your pets indoors, preferably in their carriers and on leashes. Keep them in an interior, safe room. Make sure they wear current identification!

If You're Not Home

Pre-planning is the key. Make arrangements with a neighbor in case something happens when you're not home. Give them a list and the location of your disaster supplies. Have a set location to meet when it is safe. Make sure your pets are familiar with your neighbor and that your neighbor has a key to your home.

After the Emergency

Keep your pets safely confined. Check your home and fence for damage. Loose fences may not properly confine a frightened, disoriented pet. Damaged windows could injure or allow escape.

Post-Traumatic Stress

Remember, upheaval of regular routines is stressful on pets as well as people. You may notice behavior changes, lack of appetite, or other signs of stress. If problems persist or become worrisome, contact your veterinarian.

Emergency Shelters & Companion Animals

Companion animals which are dogs and cats will be permitted at emergency shelters provided the following criteria is met:

  • Have the animal in a hard crate
  • Provide rabies shot information upon arrival at the shelter
  • Have at least three days supply of food for the animal and cat litter if the pet is a feline; we will supply water
  • Bring water and food bowls for each animal; for cats, we recommend a larger crate to have room for litter pan
  • Bring leashes and muzzles if necessary