Pet Emergency Preparedness

Pet Emergency Preparedness

Do you have an emergency plan for your family? Does it include your pets? Many have not thought about what they would do with their pets in an emergency.

You can never completely control what will happen during an emergency, you can take steps to be as prepared as possible for advance-notice disasters, like wildfires and rolling blackouts, and no warning emergencies, like house fires, floods and earthquakes. By taking some easy actions now, you can be better prepared to keep your pets safe, and in the worst case, find them if they have been lost.

It is relatively inexpensive to have a veterinarian implant a microchip that contains your contact information. This is by far the best way lost pets are returned home. Even indoor pets should be microchipped. All shelters and veterinary clinics are equipped with scanners that will allow them to contact you directly. For pets that are already microchipped, make sure the contact information is up to date. Ask your veterinarian for help if you are unsure how to do this.

In addition to your family’s disaster kit, prepare one for your pets. Include enough food, water and prescriptions to last a minimum of three days. Have leashes, bedding and kennels set aside. It is better to have items separate from the daily ones that are stored together and easily retrieved when needed for an emergency.

If your pet has any medical conditions or pertinent medical history, keep a current copy of medical records and vaccinations. In an emergency, internet and phones may not be available to attain such information. Store with your family’s important documents in waterproof containers. It may also be helpful to have a photo of yourself with your pet as further proof of ownership.

If you are evacuated or displaced, Pets are often not allowed in evacuation centers unless they are service animals. You can ask out-of-town friends or relatives about keeping your pet in an emergency ahead of time, or you can check a website that lists pet-friendly hotels.

Locate veterinary clinics, the SPCA and boarding facilities in areas where you plan to evacuate just in case you need to temporarily house your pet. You can also contact your local emergency management office to ask if they offer accommodations for owners and pets during a disaster.

The nature of an unplanned disaster is that it can happen at any time. Have a buddy system with friends or neighbors in case you are not home and cannot get there during and emergency. Have a trusted person you can call to check on pets and evacuate them if necessary. Having a kit ready to go will make it easier for them if you aren’t there.

Learn more about preparing your pet for emergencies on CDC’s Healthy Pets, Healthy People website.

For information about preparing your family for emergencies visit