Emergency Preparedness for Pets

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In an emergency, it’s important to ensure the safety of all members of the family, including your pets. 

Before an emergency:

  • Make sure nothing can fall on your pet in an earthquake.
  • Make sure your pet has identification, such as an ID tag or microchip.
  • Locate a shelter for you and your pet. Pets are not allowed in public shelters (except service animals), so consider alternatives such as homes of family and friends, hotels and motels that allow pets, or kennels and veterinary hospitals.
  • Have a crate or pet carrier available. This will also prevent your pet from running away in case of panic.
  • Include the following pet items when preparing your emergency kit:
    • Extra water
    • Pet food and medications
    • Copy of your pet’s vaccination records
    • Photo of you with your pet as proof of ownership
    • Litter, pan or newspaper, and plastic bags for sanitation needs
    • Leash, collar, and ID tags
    • Pet’s favorite toy or familiar items (to reduce stress)
  • Develop a pet support team. Ask a neighbor, friend or relative to look after and evacuate your pet if necessary. Tell them where your emergency kit is located and where to meet during the emergency.
  • Prepare a list of emergency contact resources including veterinary hospitals and animal control agencies.

During an emergency:

  • Bring your pets inside during an emergency.
  • Be patient with your pets after an earthquake. They get stressed just like people and need time to readjust.  They may disappear for some time, but they generally show up again when things have calmed down.
  • If you must evacuate without your pet, leave your pet loose inside your home with plenty of food and water. Place a note outside your home with the following information:
    • Type of pet and where it is in your home
    • Your contact information
    • Your vet’s contact information

After an emergency:

  • If you leave town, take your pets with you.
  • Your pets may be disoriented after the disaster. Give them time to settle down, maintain close contact, and monitor them closely.
  • Changes in your pet’s behavior are normal after a disaster - if problems persist contact your veterinarian.

Other useful references:

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Information for Pet Owners

The Humane Society Disaster Plan for Pets

Ready.gov Caring for Animals