Information for Pet Owners
- Plan for Pet Disaster Needs
- Prepare to Shelter Your Pet
- During a Disaster
- After a Disaster
If you evacuate your home, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND! Pets most likely cannot survive on their own; and if by some remote
chance they do, you may not be able to find them when you return.
For additional information, please contact The Humane Society of the United States.
Plan for Pet Disaster Needs
- Identifying shelter. For public health reasons, many emergency
shelters cannot accept pets. Find out which motels and hotels in the
area you plan to evacuate to allow pets -- well in advance of needing
them. There are also a number of guides that list hotels/motels that
permit pets and could serve as a starting point. Include your local
animal shelter's number in your list of emergency numbers -- they might
be able to provide information concerning pets during a disaster.
- Take pet food, bottled water, medications, veterinary records, cat
litter/pan, can opener, food dishes, first aid kit and other supplies
with you in case they're not available later. While the sun is still
shining, consider packing a "pet survival" kit which could be easily
deployed if disaster hits.
- Make sure identification tags are up to date and securely fastened
to your pet's collar. If possible, attach the address and/or phone
number of your evacuation site. If your pet gets lost, his tag is his
ticket home. Make sure you have a current photo of your pet for
- Make sure you have a secure pet carrier, leash or harness for your pet so that if he panics, he can't escape.
- Animals in Emergencies for Owners This video, developed by the Chemical Stockpile Emergency
Preparedness Program (CSEPP)
/FEMA, is intended to help pet and livestock owners prepare to protect their animals during emergencies.
Prepare to Shelter Your Pet
- Call your local emergency management office, animal shelter, or animal control office to get advice and information.
- If you are unable to return to your home right away, you may need
to board your pet. Find out where pet boarding facilities are located.
Be sure to research some outside your local area in case local
- Most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters will need
your pet's medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current.
Include copies in your "pet survival" kit along with a photo of your
- NOTE: Some animal shelters will provide temporary
foster care for owned pets in times of disaster, but this should be
considered only as a last resort.
- If you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home, there are
some precautions you must take, but remember that leaving your pet at
home alone can place your animal in great danger! Confine your pet to a
safe area inside -- NEVER leave your pet chained outside! Leave them
loose inside your home with food and plenty of water. Remove the
toilet tank lid, raise the seat and brace the bathroom door open so
they can drink. Place a notice outside in a visible area, advising what
pets are in the house and where they are located. Provide a phone
number where you or a contact can be reached as well as the name and
number of your vet.
During a Disaster
- Bring your pets inside immediately.
- Have newspapers on hand for sanitary purposes. Feed the animals moist or canned food so they will need less water to drink.
- Animals have instincts about severe weather changes and will often
isolate themselves if they are afraid. Bringing them inside early can
stop them from running away. Never leave a pet outside or tied up
during a storm.
- Separate dogs and cats. Even if your dogs and cats normally get
along, the anxiety of an emergency situation can cause pets to act
irrationally. Keep small pets away from cats and dogs.
- In an emergency, you may have to take your birds with you. Talk
with your veterinarian or local pet store about special food dispensers
that regulate the amount of food a bird is given. Make sure that the
bird is caged and the cage is covered by a thin cloth or sheet to
provide security and filtered light.
After a Disaster
- If after a disaster you have to leave town, take your pets with you. Pets are unlikely to survive on their own.
- In the first few days after the disaster, leash your pets when they
go outside. Always maintain close contact. Familiar scents and
landmarks may be altered and your pet may become confused and lost.
Also, snakes and other dangerous animals may be brought into the area
with flood areas. Downed power lines are a hazard.
- The behavior of your pets may change after an emergency. Normally
quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive. Watch
animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard with access
to shelter and water.
Last Modified: Thursday, 04-Jun-2009 13:33:20 EDT
"Everyone's pet is the most outstanding. This begets mutual blindness."