The best way to protect your family from the effects of a disaster is to have a disaster plan. If you are a pet owner, that plan must include your pets. Being prepared can save their lives.

Different disasters require different responses, but whether the disaster is a flood or a hazardous spill, you may have to evacuate your home. If you must evacuate, the most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to evacuate them, too. Leaving pets behind, even if you try to create a safe place for them, is likely to result in their being injured, lost or worse. So prepare now for the day when you and your pets may have to leave your home.

Red Cross disaster shelters cannot accept pets because of states’ health and safety regulations and other considerations. Service animals that assist people with disabilities are the only animals allowed in Red Cross shelters. It may be difficult, if not impossible, to find shelter for your animals in the midst of a disaster, so plan ahead. Do not wait until disaster strikes to do your research.

Have an Emergency Pet Care Plan

  • If you evacuate, take your pet with you. Most emergency shelters do not allow animals, so have a plan for your pet. Safe places to take your pet may include homes of friends or relatives, pet friendly hotels, pet kennels or veterinary facilities. Prepare a list of contact numbers in advance. Contact your local animal control facility for information in your area.
  • Choose a designated care giver, such as a neighbor, friend or relative to care for your pet in the event that you are unable to do so.
  • Affix a Rescue Alert Sticker to the front of your residence. The sticker should include the types and number of pets in your house and veterinarian information.
  • Ensure that your pet wears a collar with a rabies tag at all times. Consult your veterinarian about permanent identification, such as microchipping, or registration with a pet recovery database.

Assemble a Pet Emergency Kit Including:

  • Leash, harness and / or Pet carrier
  • 1-Week supply of food and water with bowls
  • Medications and pet first aid kit
  • Copies of vaccination, medical records and a photo of you and your pet (for identification) in a waterproof container
  • Plastic bags, disinfectants, paper towels and for cats, a litter box
  • Blankets, toys and treats
  • Prepare a Pet Disaster Supply Kit Sources

Assemble a Pet Emergency Preparedness Kit: The American Red Cross shares a checklist of items to include in a pet emergency preparedness kit.

ESP Focus: Make Disaster Kits (PDF): The Emergency Survival Program (ESP) shares how to make a disaster kit for yourself and your pets.

Pets and Disasters: Prepare or Get a Pet Emergency Supply Kit: A pet emergency kit should have food, water, medicine, an ID tag, carrier, and sanitation items.

How to Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit (PDF): A document that explains the necessary steps for assembling a disaster supplies kit for the family and pets.

Why Prepare an Emergency Supplies Kit? (PDF): Pet owners should not abandon their pets during times of an emergency. Instead, they should create a plan of action and emergency supplies kit to ensure the safety of their animal friends.

Disaster Supplies: For Dogs: Red Rover shares an emergency supply kit specifically for dogs, which includes food, water, sanitation products, transportation, housing, and means for identification.

Disaster Preparedness Guidelines: Emergency Supply Kit: The Animal Rescue Foundation states that an emergency supply kit should include everything your pet needs for at least one week.

Be Prepared for Disasters: Emergency Supply Kits: Be sure to pack your emergency supply kits with enough supplies to keep your pet alive for at least one week.

Including Your Pet In Disaster Preparedness: The Oregon Humane Society encourages owners to keep an emergency supply kit when preparing for a disaster.

Protecting Your Pets in a Disaster (PDF): Learn about the essential items to include in an emergency supply kit for pets.

During an Emergency

  • Keep your pets on hand at the first sign of an emergency. Don’t allow your pets to roam loose following a disaster.
  • Call ahead to make arrangements for boarding your pet outside the danger area.
  • Keep your pet emergency kit close at hand.

Make a Plan


Protect Your Pet

Animal and Insect Related Hazards

Pet Friendly Shelters/Hotels

For more detailed information, visit the following resource web sites: