Plan for Your Pets

If you have pets, you should:

  • Take your pets with you if you evacuate. If it is not safe for you, it is not safe for them. Leaving them may endanger you, your pets, and emergency responders.
  • Plan in advance where you will go if you evacuate, as pets (other than service animals) are usually not allowed in public shelters. Some communities have established sheltering options for pets. Contact your local emergency management agency to see if there are any emergency animal shelters in your community or along your evacuation roué.
  • Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to check their policies on accepting pets and restrictions on the number, size, and species. Ask if "no pet" policies could be waived in an emergency.
  • Ask friends, relatives, or others outside your area if they could shelter your animals. If you have two or more pets, they may be more comfortable if kept together, but be prepared to house them separately.
  • Prepare a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter animals in an emergency; include 24-hour telephone numbers. Ask local animal shelters if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets in a disaster situation. Animal shelters may be overburdened, so this should be your last resort unless you make such arrangements well in advance.
  • Keep a list of "pet friendly" places, including their telephone numbers, with other disaster information and supplies. If you have notice of an impending disaster, call ahead for reservations. Hotels and motels with “no-pet” policies may waive these policies during a disaster, particularly if the pet is housed in a carrier. Contact establishments along your evacuation route to see if they will waive “no-pet” rules, and make sure you have adequate facilities and supplies for your pets.
  • Carry pets in a sturdy carrier. Animals may feel threatened by some disasters, become frightened, and try to run. Being in its own carrier helps reassure a pet.
  • Have identification, collar, leash, and proof of vaccinations for all pets. At some locations, you may need to provide veterinary records before boarding your pets. If your pet is lost, identification will help officials return it to you.
  • Assemble a portable pet disaster supplies kit. Keep food, water, and any special pet needs in an easy-to-carry container.
  • Have a current photo of your pets in case they get lost.
  • Create a plan in case you are not at home during an emergency to ensure that someone takes care of your pets, even evacuating them if necessary. The plan should include these elements:
    - Give a trusted neighbor the key to your home and instructions, as well as your daytime (work or school) contact information.
    - Make sure the neighbor is familiar with your pets and knows the location of your pet emergency kit.
    - Make sure the neighbor listens to a local radio or television station for emergency information and puts your shelter-in-place or pet evacuation plan into action.
    - Have a plan to communicate with your neighbor after the event. You will want to arrange a meeting place in a safe area so you can be reunited with your pets.
  • Contact your local emergency management agency, humane society, and animal control agency to see if your community has sheltering options for animals and for families with pets. If not, learn more about emergency animal shelters and volunteer to include this option in local disaster preparedness efforts.
  • Learn pet first aid and keep your pet first aid kit up to date.