Before A Disaster: Plan For Pets

Main Content
Release date: 
September 28, 2010
Release Number: 
1933-017

NEW BERLIN, Wis. -- September is National Preparedness Month and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges Americans to understand what it means to be Ready. Disaster plans for people and businesses are important, but don't forget to have a plan for pets, working animals and livestock

“The likelihood that you and your animals stay safe in an emergency depends on disaster planning done today,” said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Paul Ricciuti.  

Make plans in advance for pets and livestock, especially if it becomes necessary for you to evacuate to a safer location.
"Planning for your animals often means better peace of mind. Put together a preparedness kit now. Check with local emergency management about area evacuation policies and pet shelters," said Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator Michael Hinman.

Detailed plans for family pets, working animals and livestock owners are available online at Ready.gov or by calling 1-800-BE READY (1-800-237-3239). Basic guidance includes:

Planning for animal evacuation:

  • If you must leave, be prepared to take your family pet, if possible;
  • Local emergency management offices can provide locations of pet-friendly shelters;
  • Get online and write down several "pet friendly" hotels in and out of your area;
  • Identify friends or relatives outside your area where you and your pets can stay;  
  • If there is a disaster pending, evacuate early with pets and working animals such as race horses; don't wait for a mandatory evacuation order; and
  • Animals should have leg bands or tattoos, microchips or identification tags with their name as well as your address and phone number.

 Putting together an animal emergency kit:

  • Water, food (in a waterproof container), a can opener and treats for up to one week;
  • Toys, treats and bedding because familiar items may reduce stress for your pet;
  • Medications, medical records and your veterinarian's name and telephone number; 
  • Current photos of you with your family pets;
  • Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and/or carriers to move pets safely and securely;
  • Litter, litter box, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach for sanitation; and
  • First aid supplies such as cotton bandage rolls, tape, scissors, antibiotic ointment, flea/tick prevention, latex gloves, alcohol, saline solution as well as a pet first aid reference book.

Planning for safe animal transportation:

  • Get family pets used to being placed in a carrier or crate;
  • Prepare to move birds, snakes, lizards, ferrets and "pocket pets" like hamsters and gerbils in secure cages or carriers;
  • Prepare for extreme weather conditions. Include blankets, ice packs, heating pads and a water mister in your kit; and
  • Obtain "Pets Inside" stickers at ASPCA.org. Place stickers on doors or windows with the number and types of pets in your home and a phone number where you can be reached. If time permits, remember to write "Evacuated with Pets" across the stickers if you flee with your pets.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
State/Tribal Government or Region: 
Back to Top