Prepare: Make a Pet Kit & Plan

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The key to survival during a disaster, crisis or emergency is to be as prepared as much as possible before the disaster hits. Take the time to make a plan and assemble an emergency kit for you and your pet.

By taking these steps now, you will greatly increase your pet’s chances of survival.

Additional information is available on the access and functional needs of pets before, during and after an emergency.

Don't forget your pet's ID and tags; your pet should be wearing up-to-date identification at all times. This includes adding your current cell phone number to your pet's tag. It may also be a good idea to include the phone number of a friend or relative outside your immediate area; if your pet is lost, you'll want to provide a number on the tag that will be answered even if you're out of your home.

Disaster Supply Kit for Pets

Every member of your family should know what he or she needs to take when you evacuate. You also need to prepare supplies for your pet. Stock up on non-perishables well ahead of time, and have everything ready to go at a moment's notice. Keep everything accessible, stored in sturdy containers (duffel bags, covered trash containers, etc.) that can be carried easily.

In your pet disaster kit, you should include:

  • Food and water for at least five days for each pet, bowls and a manual can opener if you are packing canned pet food.
  • Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container and a first aid kit.
  • Cat litter box, litter, garbage bags to collect all pet waste and litter scoop.
  • Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and carriers to transport pets safely and to ensure that your pets can't escape.
    • Carriers should be large enough for the animal to stand comfortably, turn around and lie down. Your pet may have to stay in the carrier for hours at a time while you are away from home.
    • Be sure to have a secure cage with no loose objects inside it to accommodate smaller pets. These may require blankets or towels for bedding and warmth, and other special items.
  • Current photos and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them in case you and your pets become separated and to prove that they are yours.
  • Pet beds and toys, if you can easily take them, to reduce stress.
  • Information about your pets' feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in foster care.
  • Other useful items include newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags, grooming items and household bleach. 

Emergency Planning for Your Pet

Find a safe place ahead of time because evacuation shelters generally don't accept pets (except for service animals). You must plan ahead to make certain your family and pets will have a safe place to stay. Don't wait until disaster strikes to do your research.

Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to check policies on accepting pets. Ask about any restrictions on number, size and species.

  • Inquire if the "no pet" policies would be waived in an emergency.
  • Make a list of animal-friendly places and keep it handy.
  • Call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to leave your home.

Check with friends, relatives or others outside your immediate area.

  • Ask if they would be able to shelter you and your animals or just your animals, if necessary.
  • If you have more than one pet, you may need to house them at separate locations.

Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinary offices that might be able to shelter animals in emergencies; include 24-hour telephone numbers. 

In Case You're Not Home

An evacuation order may come, or a disaster may strike, when you're at work or out of the house.

If you use a pet-sitting service, it may be able to help, but discuss the possibility well in advance.

Make arrangements well in advance for a trusted neighbor to take your pets and meet you at a specified location. Be sure the person:

  • is comfortable with your pets and your pets are familiar with him/her.
  • knows where your animals are likely to be.
  • knows where your disaster supplies are kept and has a key to your home.

Related Information

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