Disaster Preparedness for Pets


1. Pet Identification – how much thought and effort a pet owner puts into insuring that their pet has proper identification will be directly related to the chances of a pet owner being re-united with their lost pet.

  • Pet Microchip Identification
    • There are a variety of companies (HomeAgain is the largest company; https://www.homeagain.com )
      • Make sure the owner contact information is accurate and up-to-date.
    • Proper chip placement is extremely important
      • Microchips from reliable companies do not migrate. 
    • Microchip ID’s are very safe and effective and rarely cause problems
    • Tattoos and notching ears are ineffective for identification
  • Leashes; collars; pet clothing; carriers; and cages must have durable, easy to read ID tags.
  • Every year check your online contact information for accuracy.
  • Pet Microchip Look-up Tool (http://www.petmicrochiplookup.... ) for microchip information.

2. Important pet information to have:

  • Pictures of you and your pets which will help document ownership and assist when looking for lost pets.
  • Include detailed physical information about your pet(s): species, age, breed, sex (intact/ neutered), color and distinguishing features
  • Medical information summaries for pets

3. Keep readily accessible all the items needed to transport pets from your home to the car:

  • Collars; harnesses; leashes; etc.
  • Carriers; crates; wire cages
    • These need to be sturdy, clean and readily accessible.
    • Try to put all cats in their carriers. They will be difficult to catch if they jump out of a car.
  • Always have a pair of thick leather gloves (better yet welding or raptor gloves) available. These can be used to quickly pick up a stressed cat or small dog. Wrapping them in a beach towel can be helpful too.
  • Consider having a plastic or wire muzzle for dogs that don’t do well in stressful situations.
  • Have everything you need to be able to quickly evacuate your pets and take them to safety.
  • Familiar items – favorite toys; stuffed animals; pet bedding will help reduce stress in displaced pets.
  • For example: Use the cat carrier to store bedding material; empty food and water containers; some litter and litter bags for cleaning; and other needed supplies. Put the carrier in a large trash bag to keep it clean and dust free.

4. Medical/Health Concerns

  • Make sure all of the pets are up-to-date on their annual and tri-annual vaccinations. Discuss this with your veterinarian. The pets may be exposed to stressed, unvaccinated pets during the evacuation or they may need to board for a period of time away from home.
  • Keep all medications in one place so that the can be quickly gathered during an emergency.
    • Refrigerated medications (insulin; antibiotics; etc.) will need to he put in an ice chest with ice.
    • Keep medicines in waterproof container
    • Bathing and grooming supplies
  • If possible have a copy of each pet’s medical record. However, most pet medical records can be Emailed between hospitals.
  • Call your veterinarian to check their hospital’s status during the evacuation. Some hospitals may be taking in boarding patients from the evacuation areas or have recommendations on where to go.

5. Emergency Supply Kit

  • Food – Have at least 3 – 5 days of food in an airtight, waterproof container. Include treats and special foods to help encourage “picky” eaters.
    • Have empty, clean food and water containers stored with the other evacuation supplies.
    • Water – Have at least 3 – 5 days of water (or more) for both pets and people.
  • A properly supplied human First Aid Kit will be adequate for pets.
    • Include a Pet First Aid Reference book. A Veterinary Toxic Plant book would also be helpful.
    • DO NOT GIVE HUMAN MEDICATIONS TO PETS unless instructed to do so by a veterinarian. Be very cautious with these medications.
    • (1) Regular strength Tylenol tablet will kill a 10# cat.
    • (1) stick of sugarless gum containing Xylitol could be toxic for a 75# dog.
  • Extra collars; leashes; harnesses
  • Toys and treats
  • Sanitation – plastic bags to pick-up after the dogs. Cats will need litter boxes; litter; cleaning supplies and disinfectants; trash bags; containers to hold the soiled materials.
  • List of names; addresses and phone numbers
    • Regular veterinarian; local veterinary emergency clinics
    • Other local veterinarians and boarding facilities.

6. Rabbits, rodents, birds and reptiles

  • Keep them from getting too warm or too cold
  • Need to have transport cage(s) that are sturdy
  • Put a sheet around the cage(s)
    • These pets are very sensitive to smoke, smells. odors, sounds, etc.
    • They are very prone to developing respiratory tract problems
  • They can get very stressed during transport
    • Get them to a quiet area as soon as possible


1. Discuss and create a getaway plan

  • Arrange to meet at 2 sites
  • Make sure your pets will be welcome

2. Develop a buddy system with a “pet friendly” neighbor to make sure someone will be looking after your pet(s) if you are not home.

  • Make sure they have proper documentation from you (include pictures) authorizing the neighbor to provide care for your pets

3. For First Responders – provide current “People and Pets Inside” Information on access door

Helpful Links:

FEMA (www.ready.gov ) - Preparing your pets for emergencies makes sense. Get ready now.

ASPCA Disaster Preparedness - https://www.aspca.org/

CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/features/p... )

Disaster Planning Checklist for Dogs ( http://myvet.demandforced3.com... )

Disaster Planning Checklist for Cats ( http://myvet.demandforced3.com... )

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