Disaster Preparedness for Your Pets

© Can Stock Photo Inc. andreykuzmin
© Can Stock Photo Inc. andreykuzmin

During your disaster planning, don’t forget to plan for your pets. Set up a plan that may save your pet’s life during disasters such as floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, blizzards, and other unforeseen events.

Elements of a Pet Disaster Plan

Microchip and ID: Make sure your pet has identification. The most important one is to have your companion microchipped. This is an inexpensive, simple procedure where a small microchip with your pet’s information is placed under the skin. If your pet is lost during a disaster and found by someone else, the microchip can be read and the pet returned to you. Make an appointment with your veterinarian

Always have a collar or harness on your pet with the same id information as the microchip. This needs to also include your pet’s rabies tag.

Rescue Stickers: Rescue stickers are for fires, floods or other weather disasters. During one of these disasters rescue workers can save your pet’s life by looking for a rescue sticker on the window. It will inform them of what type of pets you have as well.

Safe Haven: Arrange safe haven in advance so that when a disaster happens you have a place to take your pets. Most Red Cross shelters do not allow pets. There are several ways to arrange a safe place. This includes hotels that accept pets, friends and family that will take your pets in for a while, and/or vets and animal shelters that can take them as well.

Take Your Pets: Always take your pets with you when you evacuate if at all possible. Have an emergency kit prepared at all times and have the pets’ leashes easily accessible.

Emergency Kit

An emergency kit is important in disaster preparedness for your pets. What to include:

disaster prep for pets


  • A pet first aid kit
  • Food dishes
  • Food
  • Bottled water for a week
  • Copies of all medical records for all your pets
  • Microchip number (should be with your medical records)
  • Disposable litter trays and cat litter for cats
  • One crate for each pet
  • Blankets
  • Garbage bags
  • Toys
  • Treats

Keep your pet’s emergency kit with yours. Kathryn Primm, DVM of Applebrook Animal Hospital advises, “It is wise to prepare an animal emergency kit. Choose non perishable dry and canned foods enough for several days. A gallon water is easily prepared from an empty and cleaned milk jug and can serve for pets or people. Purina makes energy bars for dogs that conserve space and can serve as emergency rations. Be sure you have a can opener!” Kathryn also recommends collapsible bowls to save space.

It is important to have a disaster preparedness plan and a pet emergency kit. Having places to take the animals set up before hand is a critical part of the plan. You cannot wait until the disaster occurs to ask friends and family to take your animals. The more preparation you have the better off you and your pets will be when the disaster occurs.


Nicky LaMarco has been a freelance writer since 2001. Nicky is an experienced ghostwriter and copywriter. She also writes for a variety of magazines. Nicky lives in Maine with her husband, two daughters, and two cats. Learn more about her at www.nickylamarco.com.