Plan for Your Pets in Emergencies

Be Prepared! If it's not safe for you, it's not safe for them. Include your pets in all of your emergency plans.

Before the Disaster

  • Make sure that your pets are current on their vaccinations. Pet shelters require proof of rabies vaccines.
  • Have a current photograph.
  • Make sure ID tags are up-to-date and securely fastened. If possible, attach your cell phone number.
  • Make sure you have a secure pet carrier and a leash for your pet. Let your pet get used to traveling in a carrier so it doesn't panic in an emergency.
  • Plan your evacuation strategy! Public pet-friendly shelters, animal control shelters, veterinary clinics, and friends/relatives out of harm's way are all potential refuges for your pet during a disaster.

During the Disaster

Bring pets indoors well in advance of a storm - reassure them and remain calm.

Animals which will be boarded or taken to a pet-friendly shelter need to have: Collar and rabies tag, identification on all belongings, a carrier or cage, a leash, bowls and an ample supply of food, necessary medications, specific care instructions, and newspapers or trash bags for clean-up. Pet shelters will be filled on first-come, first-served basis. Call ahead to determine availability.

After the Disaster

Walk pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to their home - familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and pets could easily be confused. 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 a current picture of your pet. After a disaster, animals can become aggressive or defensive - monitor their behavior.