Every disaster plan must include your pets. If you know disaster is imminent, bring your pet inside immediately. Get your animals under control as quickly as possible, either using a leash or by putting them in a pet carrier.
Disasters often strike suddenly, while you are away from home. You can improve your pet's chances for safety if you leave him/her inside, with collars and identification tags, when you go out. Consider an arrangement with a trusted neighbor who would be willing to evacuate your pets in your absence. Make sure the person knows your animals, can locate your emergency supplies, and has a key to your home. Provide him or her with instructions and phone numbers on how to reach you.
Keep your animal's license and identification current
Keep up-to-date identification on your pets at all times. Use a properly fitting collar with an identification tag. Consider using a microchip for identification, but make sure local shelters have microchip scanners.
Keep current color photographs of your pet, showing any distinguishing markings, with your emergency supplies.
If you evacuate, take your pet
Your animal's best protection is to be with you. Remember, taking your pet with you requires special planning.
Locate a safe place for your pets before disaster strikes. Evacuation shelters generally do not accept animals for public health and safety reasons. Service animals, on the other hand, are allowed to accompany their owners to an emergency shelter. Call hotels and motels in your immediate area and a reasonable distance from home to see if they will accept pets and under what conditions. Also, contact local boarding kennels and veterinary hospitals with boarding facilities. Ask friends and family members whether they will provide foster care for your pets.
NOTE: Animal shelters will provide temporary foster care for owned pets in times of disaster, but this should be considered only as a last resort.
Emergency Supplies Kit
Assemble a portable pet emergency supplies kit to provide for your pet's needs for seven days. Pack the supplies in a carry case, in case you evacuate. Include the following:
- Medications and medical records, including vaccination records (stored in a water proof container) and a first aid kit. Name and telephone number of your veterinarian. List medical conditions and special considerations.
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that your animals can't escape.
- Current photos of your pets in case they get lost.
- Food, portable water, bowls, cat litter and pan, and can opener.
- Plastic bags/paper towels for disposing of animal waste.
- Favorite toys and pet beds with kennel or carrying case.
- Maintain a list of emergency contact numbers in the kit.
Even with a disaster plan in place, pets and their owners can sometimes run into trouble, or a disaster can exceed local resources.
Developed by NFPA. Funding provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Domestic Preparedness.