Pet Preparedness in Disaster/Pandemic Situations

Being prepared for an emergency or disaster situation is crucial when every minute counts. You should have a plan for yourself, your family, and your pets.

General guidelines:

  • Place a tag on your pet’s collar that includes their name and your contact information. This is especially important if your pet is not microchipped.

  • If your pet is microchipped, double check that the microchip is registered and that your contact information is current.

  • Take a picture of your pet. This will be helpful if they are lost or you become separated from them.

  • Keep your pet’s vaccines current or update them immediately if they have expired. If your pet needed emergency housing, a boarding facility or shelter would require them to be current on their vaccines to help protect them from illness while in their care.

  • Have a folder of your pet’s medical records. These records should accompany your pet if they leave your home.

  • Keep all your pet’s vaccination and medical records in a water-proof protector or digitalize them. Take pictures of their records that you can easily access on your phone or upload them to a jump drive.

  • Write a summary about your pet, including: their normal daily routine, activities they like to do, situations or people that may scare them, and their overall personality. This will help caregivers make your pet more comfortable.

  • Have a sticker near your front door or window stating how many and what type of pets live in the home.


If you become too ill to care for your pet or need to be hospitalized:

  • Make arrangements ahead of time for a friend, relative, or neighbor to care for your pet in your home.

  • If this is not an option, have a boarding facility on standby. Leave their information and your pet’s medical records in a highly visible location.


If you must evacuate your home:

  • Do not leave your pets behind. If it is not safe for you, then it is not safe for them. Circumstances can change quickly and you may not be able to return to your home.

  • Remove or write evacuated on the sticker near your front door indicating no people or animals are inside.

  • Prepare a to-go kit with extra food/water bowls, leash, litter and litterbox, poop bags, toys, treats, bedding, and a first-aid kit.

  • Have a three-week supply of your pet’s medication and food with instructions on how and when to administer it. If possible, keep medications in the original prescription bottles.

  • Have ample water. Think gallon jugs, not small bottles.

  • Have a secure carrier/kennel for each pet whenever possible. Label the carrier with their name and your contact information.

  • Be sure larger dogs are wearing a collar or harness and have a leash.

  • Have a list of pet friendly hotels that are not in your immediate area.