Caring for Pets in a Disaster

For more tips on how to prepare your kit, has a section with more information:

Caring for Animals

Following a disaster, familiar scents and landmarks may be altered.  Pets may become confused and lost, so it is critical to maintain close contact with and leash pets when they go outside.  Also, snakes and other potentially dangerous animals displaced by the disaster may have migrated into the area (especially after flooding).  In addition, downed power lines can also be a hazard for people and their pets.  Be aware of your surroundings and protect your pet(s) and yourself.

Similar to children and adults, disaster-related stress may change a pet’s behavior. Normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive.  Watch your animals closely, and be cautious around other animals – even pets you know.  If you evacuate, take your pets with you!

Contact local emergency management for information regarding availability of emergency shelters for pets.  However, if you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home, there are some precautions you must take, but remember that leaving your pet(s) at home alone can place your animal(s) in great danger! Confine your pet(s) to a safe area inside - NEVER leave your pet(s) chained outside!  Leave them loose inside your home with food and plenty of water.


Build a Kit for Your Pets

Include basic survival items and items to keep your pet happy and comfortable. Start with this list, or download Preparing Makes Sense for Pet Owners-Emergency Preparedness Pet Kit List (PDF)   to find out exactly what items your pet needs to be Ready.

  • Food. At least a three day supply in an airtight, waterproof container.
  • Water. At least three days of water specifically for your pets.
  • Medicines and medical records.
  • Important documents. Registration information, adoption papers and vaccination documents. Talk to your veterinarian about microchipping and enrolling your pet in a recovery database.
  • First aid kit. Cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors; antibiotic ointment; flea and tick prevention; latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Including a pet first aid reference book is a good idea too.
  • Collar or harness with ID tag, rabies tag and a leash.
  • Crate or pet carrier. Have a sturdy, safe crate or carrier in case you need to evacuate. The carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down.
  • Sanitation. Pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach.
  • A picture of you and your pet together. If you become separated, a picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you. Add species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics.
  • Familiar items. Familiar items, such as treats, toys and bedding can help reduce stress for your pet.