Emergency Management Menu

Disaster Preparedness for Animals

dogs and their owners in a flooded street

Animals. To some people they're like children. To others they're an important way to earn a living. To many of us, they're a big part of our lives.

Our pets enrich our lives in more ways than we can count. In turn, they depend on us for their safety and well-being. Here's how you can be prepared to protect your pets when disaster strikes.

Have a Pet Plan

Contact your veterinarian or local humane society for information on preparing your pets for an emergency.

Before the Disaster

  • Make sure that your pets are current on their vaccinations. Pet shelters may require proof of vaccines.
  • Have a current photograph.
  • Keep a collar with identification on your pet and have a leash on hand to control your pet.
  • Have a properly-sized pet carrier for each animal — carriers should be large enough for the animal to stand and turn around.
  • Plan your evacuation strategy and don't forget your pet! Specialized pet shelters, animal control shelters, veterinary clinics and friends and relatives out of harm's way are ALL potential refuges for your pet during a disaster.
  • Learn about the American Kennel Club (AKC) Companion Animal Recovery Program.
  • If you plan to shelter your pet — work it into your evacuation route planning.

During the Disaster

black labrabor retreiver
  • Animals brought to a pet shelter are required to have: Proper identification collar and rabies tag, proper identification on all belongings, a carrier or cage, a leash, an ample supply of food, water and food bowls, any necessary medications, specific care instructions and newspapers or trash bags for clean-up.
  • Bring pets indoor well in advance of a storm — reassure them and remain calm.
  • Pet shelters will be filled on first come, first served basis. Call ahead and determine availability.
  • Walk pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to their home — often familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and pets could easily be confused and become lost. Also, downed power lines, reptiles brought in with high water, and debris can all pose a threat for animals after a disaster.
  • If pets cannot be found after a disaster, contact the local animal control office to find out where lost animals can be recovered. Bring along a picture of your pet if possible.
  • After a disaster animals can become aggressive or defensive — monitor their behavior.

Don't forget your pet when preparing a family disaster plan.

Pet Disaster Supply Kit

pet kennel
  • Proper identification including immunization records
  • Ample supply of food and water
  • A carrier or cage
  • Medications
  • Muzzle, collar and leash

Additional Links

three small kittens

Emergency Notifications

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