Pet Disaster Preparedness

Amidst damage, destruction and tragedy, natural disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes can also pose a serious threat to your pet. Since these events can occur unexpectedly or without much time to prepare, it is important to include pet disaster preparedness when developing an emergency plan for yourself and your family. 

Download our tip sheet, created in partnership with American Humane Association.

While the disaster itself may be unavoidable and the damages unpredictable, thinking about the unthinkable can save a life and give you reassurance in a scary situation. Below are some tips and proactive measures you can take to keep your pet safe during a disaster.

  • Get your pet microchipped:

    Getting your pet microchipped is a must—it is the fastest way to be reunited with your pet should she/he become separated from you during a natural disaster or on any other occasion. When you get your pet microchipped, register their details with a national microchip registry. Most animal shelters, veterinarians and animal control centers are equipped with microchip scanners—lost pets are often brought to these locations to be identified. Make sure you update your pet’s details regularly and remember to bring a photo of your pet as well in case you get separated.
  • Make pet carriers accessible:

    Have a pet carrier or crate available for each pet in the family—familiarize your pet with the crate ahead of time in case he/she needs to be transported on short notice. Consider a self-contained  crate that allows you to secure food and water dishes inside the carrier.
  • Keep your pet’s health records up to date:

    Be sure your pet’s vaccinations are current and that you have information regarding any special medical need your pet has.
  • Save your veterinarian’s phone number:

    Keep your pet hospital’s phone number as well as the local emergency hospital number on hand in case of an emergency. Find your nearest pet hospital.
  • Pack a leash:

    Have a leash on hand for each pet that can be attached to a properly fitted collar or harness. Even the most well-behaved dog can become frightened in the midst of an emergency and may exhibit unexpected or unpredictable behavior.
  • Prepare a disaster kit:

    Have a small disaster kit for your pet—including a week’s supply of food and water as well as any medication your pet may need. You can store this in a plastic storage tote and change out the contents regularly. Learn more about preparing a disaster kit for your pet in our article on building first aid kits for your pet.
  • Find a safe place:

    Choose a safe place to take your pet in the event you must evacuate your home. If your home is not safe for you, it is likely not safe for your pet. You should familiarize yourself with local boarding facilities and hotels which allow pets. Keep this contact information with your disaster kit and put it in a place that is easily assessable for all family members.
  • Treat injuries quickly and with caution:

    If your pet has been severely injured (for example, hit by a car or injured by falling debris), you need to take precautions to prevent yourself from getting bitten when trying to help. Approach an injured pet cautiously and if possible, at their level. Always leave enough distance so that you can’t get hurt. Most importantly, try not to move the pet if possible until you have talked to a veterinarian. And of course, call a veterinarian immediately. Please visit our emergency care page to learn more about safely caring for and transporting your pet in the event of a veterinary emergency.