Guidelines for Pets

Each year, thousands of pets are displaced from natural disasters in the United States. Unfortunately, many pets never return home because their owners didn't prepare. Don't wait until disaster strikes your community, prepare your pets for an emergency by applying these simple guidelines before and after a disaster.

Plan Ahead

  • Call your local emergency management office, municipal shelter, animal control facility or humane society to get advice and information about protecting your pet.
  • Find local pet boarding facilities and research some facilities outside your area in case local facilities are closed.
  • Most boarding facilities, veterinarians and animal shelters will require up-to-date vaccination records. Include copies in your "pet emergency supply" kit.
  • Ensure all pets are wearing collar tags with up-to-date information.
  • Make sure your pet's microchip number is enrolled in PETtrac or another pet recovery service.
  • Ensure your pet emergency supply kit is accessible and portable.
  • Talk with friends or relatives outside the disaster area, ask about sheltering your pets during an emergency.
  • Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to ensure someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets.

Preparing for Disaster

If a disaster is going to strike your community, there are some precautions you must take to protect your pet.

  • Bring your pets indoors in case you need to evacuate in a moment's notice.
  • Never leave a pet outdoors or tied up during severe weather, pets can sense weather changes and will often run away or isolate themselves if they are afraid.
  • Have your emergency supply kit ready for both you and your pet.
  • Separate dogs and cats, especially during an emergency situation when anxiety can cause pets to act irrationally. Keep small animals away from cats and dogs.
  • If you are unable to evacuate with your pets make sure you confine them to a safe place indoors. Allow them to roam freely inside your home with plenty of food and water. Place a notice visibly on your door advising emergency personnel what pets are inside and where they are located. Include a phone number where you or an alternate contact can be reached as well as the name and number of your veterinarian.

After Disaster Strikes

  • If you have to leave town after a disaster bring your pets with you. Pets are unlikely to survive on their own.
  • The first few days after a natural disaster keep your pets leashed when they go outside.
  • The behavior of your pets may change after a disaster. Pets may become aggressive or defensive so continue to separate dogs and cats from each other and small animals. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard with access to shelter and water.