Emergency Preparedness for Pets

The time to figure out what to do with your pets in an emergency or disaster is not when it happens, it’s before it happens.  Too many pets get left behind in an evacuation situation because their owners are simply not prepared.  Don’t be that pet owner.  If it is not safe for you, it is most certainly not safe for your pets.

Our pets are our family members.  Take the time to create and Evacuation Plan, and prepare an Evacuation Kit for your pet(s) that you can store in your basement or closet.  That way, if an emergency or disaster does strike, you can grab it, and your pets and go.  Never leave them behind if you have to evacuate! 

Your Evacuation Plan:

When creating an Evacuation Plan, here are some things to think about:

  • Most American Red Cross shelters cannot accept pets, other than service animals, due to health and safety concerns.
  • Keep a map of known evacuation routes in your area, as well as safe areas to relocate to.
  • Know which hotels and motels along those routes that are pet-friendly, or will accept pets in an emergency. If you know ahead of time that evacuation is imminent, call ahead for reservations and ensure that your pet(s) will be accepted.
    • Pet-friendly hotels
    • Prepare a list of names and numbers of people you know, boarding facilities, veterinarians or animal shelters that could care for your animals in an emergency. These should be varied in location to account for multiple scenarios.
    • Have a pet carrier available for each of your pets. Write your pet’s name, your name & contact info on each one.
    • Perform evacuation drills with your pets so that they become comfortable with the procedure and also their carriers.
    • Ensure that your pets are all current on their vaccines, have up-to-date tags & identification, and consider having your pet microchipped.
    • Choose both a temporary and a permanently designated caregiver. A temporary caregiver could be someone like a neighbor or nearby friend that could get in your house if you are stuck away from home.  A permanent caregiver should be someone you would entrust to care for your pet in the event that something happened to you.
    • Get a Rescue Alert Sticker and display it where it will be easily seen by rescue workers. On or near the front door is recommended.  Be sure it includes the number and types of pets in your home, as well as the name and number of your veterinarian.  If you must evacuate, write “EVACUATED” across the stickers so that rescue workers know your home is empty.
    • Prepare an evacuation kit for both you and your pets.

Your Pet’s Evacuation Kit:

When Preparing your pet’s Evacuation Kit, there are many things to include that you may not think of.  To make it easier, we have created a printable PDF Pet Evacuation Kit Checklist for you. 

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