Disaster Preparedness for your Pet


In preparing for disasters and possible emergency situations it is important that families remember to plan for their pets. After a disaster strikes it may be too late to prepare – having a kit prepared in advance to keep your pet fed and in good health during a crisis can be life saving. Emergency management officials recommend stocking supplies for at least three days. We will discuss what should be considered in creating a disaster action plan and stocked in a disaster kit to have on hand for your pets.

Disaster Action Plan

An emergency can occur at any time, some that we may anticipate are weather related or a natural disaster. Here in the Bay Area some disasters we can discuss and prepare for include, but are not limited to, earthquakes, forest fires, landslides, and power outages. Involving your family in developing a written disaster plan is a good opportunity to recall important things that you may forget in the case of an emergency.

Let’s first think of the basic needs of our pets – water, shelter, and food. In case of a disaster you may be required to stay in your home or evacuate.

In case you are not home

Prepare stickers to alert emergency personnel that animals are on your property. Indicate where your evacuation supplies are kept, the number and type of animals in your home as well as some of the spots your animals have been known to hide.

Provide rescue personnel with carriers and leashes. Animals can become unpredictable in frightening situations.

Designate a neighbor to tend to your pets in the event that you are not present during a disaster. They should have a key to your home and be familiar with your pets. It is also a good idea to have a pre-signed veterinary medical treatment authorization.

Having identification on your pets will help reunite you in case you are separated. Identification should provide your name, home address, phone numbers and if possible your veterinarian’s name, location, and phone number. Microchipping your pet is also important in case of the loss of their collar and identification tags.

Disaster Kit for Your Pet

In case of evacuation or prolonged stays at home it is imperative that you create a disaster kit with supplies for your family.

  • Crate or carrier – one for each pet with clear identification on the exterior.
  • Water – one week supply, minimum. Plan for one gallon per animal per day.
  • Food – one week supply, minimum. Check expiration dates.
  • Emergency contact information
  • Pet first aid kit – see below for a list
  • Medications – if your pet is on daily medications, but also remember monthly treatments for fleas, heartworm.
  • Favorite toys, treats, bedding
  • Leash, collar, spare identification tags
  • Kitty litter, pan, and scoop,
  • Newspaper
  • Food and water dishes
  • Paper towels, cleaning supplies
  • Sealable bags for waste, trash bags
  • Instructions – dietary requirements, medications and dosages listed for each pet
  • Documentation – veterinary records, microchip information, vaccine records, proof of ownershi

Additional Resources


http://www.ready.gov/ – Disaster Preparedness for Humans

http://www.avma.org/firstaid/ – Pet First Aid


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