Action Tips: Prepare Your Pet For an Emergency

Dog pet with ice pack

Many people think about preparing themselves and their families in case of an emergency but sometimes we forget to think about our pets! Read below to find tips about protecting your pets!

Get a Rescue Alert Sticker

These stickers allow emergency workers to know if they should be searching for animals inside the house. Let them know what kind of pet, and the name and number of your vet. To get an emergency pet alert sticker for your home, click here (allow 6-8 weeks for delivery).

Arrange a Safe Haven

In the case of an emergency, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND. Also, figure out where you will bring your pets ahead of time, because Red Cross facilities will not take animals.

  • Contact your vet for a list of boarding kennels and facilities.
  • Does your local animal shelter provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets?
  • Identify hotels or motels outside of your immediate area that are pet friendly.
  • Do you have friends or relatives outside your local community that could care for your pet?


Emergency Supplies and Traveling Kits

Make an Evac-Pack and know where it is. It should be clearly labeled and easy to carry. Items to consider keeping in or near your pack include:

  • Pet first-aid kit and guide book
  • 3-7 days worth of canned (pop-top) or dry food (keep it fresh)
  • Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
  • Litter or paper toweling
  • Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
  • Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
  • Pet feeding dishes
  • Extra harness and leash (harnesses are recommended for safety and security)
  • Photocopies of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires (again, make sure any meds are fresh)
  • Bottled water, at least 7 days' worth for each person and pet (store in a cool, dry place and replace every two months)
  • A traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet
  • Flashlight
  • Blanket (for scooping up a fearful pet)
  • Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make "Lost" posters)
  • Especially for cats: Pillowcase or EvackSack, toys, scoopable litter
  • Especially for dogs: Long leash and yard stake, toys and chew toys, a week's worth of cage liner.

Choose a "Designated Caregiver"

When choosing a temporary caregiver, choose someone who lives close to your home. This should be someone who is generally home during the day or has easy access (like a key) to your home. This may work well with neighbors who have pets of their own—you may even swap responsibilities.

Evacuation Preparation

If you must evacuate your home in a crisis, plan for the worst-case scenario. To minimize evacuation time, take these simple steps:

  • Store an emergency kit and leashes as close to an exit as possible.
  • Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification. Be sure to write your pet's name, your name and contact information on your pet's carrier.
  • A microchip implanted in your pet’s shoulder area can be read by scanner at most animal shelters as a more permanent form of identification.
  • Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster, so they do not wander off or become disoriented.
  • Consider your evacuation route and call ahead to make arrangements for boarding your pet outside of the danger zone at the first sign of disaster.

Geographic and Climatic Considerations

Do you live in an area that is prone to certain natural disasters like tornadoes, earthquakes or floods? If so, plan ahead!

  • Figure out which easy-to-clean areas such as utility rooms, bathrooms, and basements are safe zones – no windows or flying debris.
  • Make sure there is access to fresh water. If you may lose electricity, fill up bathtubs and sinks ahead of time so there is enough water during a power outage.
  • In the event of flooding, go to the highest location in your home, or a room that has access to counters or high shelves where your animals can take shelter.

If emergency officials recommend that you stay in your home, keep your pets with you. Keep your Evac-Pack and supplies close at hand.