Disaster Preparedness Should Include Pets

September is Disaster Preparedness Month! Disaster preparation is not something we like to think about, but with Mother Nature dealing out some of her most bizarre hands in recent memory it’s better to be safe than sorry!
The following is a list of disaster preparation tips compiled by the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States.

START GETTING READY NOW! Make sure all your furry companions have collars and identification tags that include your contact number. Most dogs wear their collars and tags full time, but cats, and particularly those who stay indoors, may not wear their collars or even have tags. And though pets with microchips are more likely to be reunited with their family, the average good Samaritan won’t be able to scan for a chip but they will be able to read a  basic tag with a name and phone number!

There are tags available now which slide onto the collars so they don’t contribute to the “jingle” noise which can spooks cats in particular. A cat harness instead of a collar is also a good option for using this style tag. These tags can hold more information than just your pet’s name. Your name and phone number should also be included, and if there’s room for your vet’s name include that too.


PREPARE YOUR DISASTER KIT! The disaster kit for your pets should include the following items:

  • food and water for 5 days-remember the bowls and a can opener if feeding canned food
  • medications and medical records in a plastic container or ziploc bag, along with photos of your pets, and the name and phone number of your veterinarian
  • cat litter, litter box, scoop-and garbage bags for disposal of pet waste
  • sturdy leashes, harnesses, and carriers-the carriers should be big enough so your pet can stand, turn around and lie down since they may have to be in them for hours at a time
  • other useful items may include wet wipes, paper towels, brushes, nail clippers, and other grooming items, extra containers of water and extra trash bags, flashlights and batteries, and a small bottle of bleach

FIND A SAFE PLACE TO STAY IN ADVANCE!  Contact hotels and motels outside your area to find out which ones accept guests with pets, and if there are any restrictions. Keep a list of the animal-friendly places handy, and make reservations ahead if at all possible.

Call friends or relatives who live outside your immediate area to find out if they would be willing and able to shelter you and your pets. If you have multiple pets you may need to make arrangements to shelter them at separate locations.

IF YOU EVACUATE, TAKE YOUR PETS!  If it isn’t safe for you it isn’t safe for your pets. Pets left behind in a disaster are frequently lost forever, injured or killed!   Some companies have emergency readiness kits already prepared, like the ones sold by PetHub.

Use coupon code “PREPARE” for 20% off one of their ReadyKits!

Visit PetHub today!PetHub Cat ID tags

IF YOU SHELTER AT HOME, DO IT SAFELY!  Block up or close off any nooks and crannies where frightened pets may try to run and hide. If you have a room or basement area designated as your “safe room” put your emergency supply kits there in advance. Keep a radio handy so you know when it’s safe to come out.

AFTER THE DISASTER, TAKE IT EASY!  Your home may be a very different place after an emergency, and as hard as it is for you it will also be hard for pets to adjust. Don’t allow them to roam free until you have thoroughly checked things out for safety.

If flooding has occurred check for displaced wildlife in the area around your house. They could pose a threat to both you and your pets. Call a trained expert to have wild animals safely and humanely removed and relocated.

BE PREPARED FOR EVEN SMALL EMERGENCIES!  A traffic accident may strand you on the road home from work for hours, or worse yet if you’re one of the parties involved you may need to be taken to the hospital. Plan ahead for a trusted friend, neighbor or family member to have a way to enter your home to care for your pets in case of a sudden short-term emergency.

Hopefully, these small steps can make a huge difference in your life and the lives of your pets in an emergency situation and will help you recover and more quickly to return to normal.

Kyle Ann

12 thoughts on “Disaster Preparedness Should Include Pets”

  1. Hi Kyle Ann,

    I totally agree with the idea of preparing for disaster for our pets. You have made a very good point Kyle, especially the use of tags in addition to microchip. I believe animals with tags get connected to their owners much faster as there is no need of special equipment to read the tags.

    Great posts always Kyle! Looking forward to your next post.

    1. Hi Khalfish!
      Thanks for taking the time to read this article, and thank you for the kind words.
      I am always so sad seeing the animals left behind in an emergency situation. They are the most helpless members of our family and depend on us to keep them safe.
      I wish you all the best with your own preparation efforts.
      Kyle Ann

  2. This was a very useful read. We seldom think about our four and two legged family members when we plan an escape route or an evacuation, any type of emergency.
    I love our animals, but I have to admit, I never thought about this. Your checklist will definitely come in handy and I am including our 4 and 2 legged family members in any and all plans that we make.
    I would not have even thought about hotels not letting us have our dogs and cat if we had to vacate our home. I will also be checking out local shelters for advice on where to call for temporary homing for our bird family members.
    This has really gotten me to think about what we will do if the need arises. We also have chickens, ducks and a turkey who are family as well.
    I am really glad I came across this now instead of after something happen. I thank you and our family as a WHOLE thank you.

    1. Hi Lee Ann!
      Thanks so much for stopping by to read my article. I’m glad you found it helpful, and that it gave you some ideas about how to prepare for the worst even though we hope it never happens. It sounds like you have multiple animals in your family so I hope you can find a plan that takes care of everyone. Our animals (no matter how many legs they have) are the most helpless members of our family and depend on us to keep them safe. I wish you all the best in your preparation efforts.
      Kyle Ann

  3. Its a very helpful and informative article. For someone like us who takes care of a small dog (my son loves his pet really), I will save this on my to-do list of emergency on my phone as it is something that sometimes we neglect. well noted!

    1. Hi Jam!
      Thanks for taking the time to read my article. I’m happy you have a furry companion in your life, and that you feel this information is useful. It is always so disturbing to see the number of abandoned animals after a disaster occurs.
      All the best to you.
      Kyle Ann

  4. Fantastic article. This is the one thing I think is very neglected when preparing for an emergency. Your Pets are family and they are just important and you need to have them ready. It’s sad when you look at the aftermath of a disaster all the animals caught up and displaced. It’s articles like this that will bring awareness to people about keeping you pets safe. Thank you so much for this great article.

    1. Hi David!
      Thanks for taking the time to read my article. I’m happy you feel it was useful. It is quite sad to see the abandoned animals after a disaster occurs. If this helps someone keep their pets safe in such an event then I am very gratified.
      I wish you and your furry companions all the best.
      Kyle Ann

  5. Some wonderful advice to keep your pets safe in the event of disaster. No one ever expects it to happen to them. Most people are ill prepared for the events themselves let alone for their beloved fury friends. I am so thankful for this check list of tips to help ensure everyone makes it through a disaster.

    1. Hi Maryann!
      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read my article. I appreciate your comments, and you are right, this is something we don’t think about or prepare for.
      I happy you feel this was helpful. I wish you and your furry companions all the best.
      Kyle Ann

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