Disaster Preparation: Make Emergency Plan To Include Pets

When disasters strike, pets are impacted as drastically as humans. When drafting a disaster preparation plan, it’s important to include provisions for our pets.

disaster preparation

Compile Contact List

First and foremost, plan to take your pets with you in the event of an evacuation. If it is not safe for you to stay, it is not safe for them.

Make a list of friends, relatives, boarding facilities, animal shelters and veterinarians who can care for your pets in an emergency. For those with more than one pet, be prepared to separate them.

Check Hotels/Motels On Evacuation Route

Know pet-friendly motels and hotels along the evacuation route in an emergency. If you know you will need to evacuate, call ahead to make reservations.

Regularly schedule evacuation drills. Include your pets so they become familiar with the process accustomed to getting in and out of carriers calmly.

Keep Copy of Pet Health Information In Safe Place

Ensure your pet’s vaccinations are current. Securely fasten collars and include tags with current identification. Put together a portable emergency supply kit for your pets that includes leashes, harnesses, food, drinking water, bowls, kitty litter/pan, a manual can opener, any medications and copies of medical records. Put the latter two items in a water proof container/ziploc bag.

For more detailed information on contents for a pet emergency kit, check out this post on our blog, Disaster Preparedness Kit For Your Pet

Keep current photos of your pets on your phone or in your wallet in the event you do become separated from them.

In case you have to board your pets, have specific information handy.  This includes: feeding schedules, any medical issues or behavioral problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian.

Life After a Disaster

After a disaster, pet behavior often changes. Observe them closely and keep them under your direct control. Pets can become disoriented, especially if the storms have destroyed their familiar scent markers, allowing them to find their way home. Be alert to hazards at their level, such as debris, chemicals, fertilizers and any other dangerous substances.

The American Red Cross is an excellent resource for information on disaster preparation for pets, and helping your pets through the evacuation process and recovery afterward.

Disaster preparation will help you evacuate with your pets as calmly as possible should you ever need to do so. This will reassure your pets, who rely on you for their comfort and safety.


Written by Ann Butenas

Ann Butenas

An internationally-recognized author and writer, Ann began her professional writing career at age 12 and began speaking while in college. She has been published thousands of times over the past three decades in all media forms, was former editor and publisher of KC Metro Woman magazine, and has also hosted three talk radio shows in the Kansas City area.