Disaster Preparedness for Your Pet

Are you prepared for a disaster? Is your pet prepared for a disaster? Just as disaster preparedness is needed for the humans in your family, it’s equally important to also prepare your pets as well. As with “all things animals” check with your vet for specific disaster preparedness for your pet if they have health issues, on medication etc. Here are a few things to help get you started!

Most important is to have your animal wearing identification tags or microchipped.

  • Assemble an animal evacuation kit.
  • Develop an evacuation plan for all of your animals and practice the plan.
  • If you live in an apartment, make sure your animals are on record with management and they are able to be evacuated using the stairs. Teach dogs how to go up and down stairs to better assist rescue personnel.
  • Keep written directions to your home near your telephone. This will help you and others explain to emergency responders exactly how to get to your home.
  • Identify alternate sources of food and water.
  • Have well maintained backup generators and a source of fuel for use in food-animal production operations.
  • Keep vehicles well maintained and full of gas.
  • Keep emergency cash on hand. (Remember: ATMs may not work.)
  • If you have horses or livestock, good barn and field maintenance can reduce danger. If evacuating is impossible, decide on the safest housing option for your animals, realizing that the situation is still life threatening. Assess the stability and safety of barns and other structures, promptly remove dead trees, and minimize debris in fields and the immediate environment. If you live in an area prone to wildfires, clear away brush and maintain a defensible space around structures.
In Case You're Not at Home
Place stickers on front and back house doors, barn doors, and pasture entrances to notify neighbors, fire fighters, police, and other rescue personnel of animals on your property and the location of your evacuation supplies.
  • Keep a list of the species, number and locations of your animals near your evacuation supplies and note animals’ favorite hiding spots. This will save precious rescue time.
  • Keep muzzles, handling gloves, catch nets and animal restraints where rescue personnel can find them. Remember that animals may become unpredictable when frightened.
  • Designate a willing neighbor to tend to your animals in the event a disaster occurs when you are not at home. This person should have a key to your home, be familiar with your animals, know your evacuation procedures, and where your evacuation supplies are kept.
  • Include a letter signed by you in your evacuation kit that releases your neighbor from responsibility if an animal is injured during an evacuation.
  • You may also want to have a signed veterinary medical treatment authorization with your evacuation kit — this will aid your veterinarian in providing care if your animal must be treated during your absence.