Preparing for a Disaster with a Pet

Here are some special tips for dealing with your pets in an emergency or disaster.

  • Stock up on your pets' favorite foods. Clean water is a must. Plan for 5 to 7 days' worth; 2 weeks is best.
  • Containers for food and water.
  • Buy a pet carrier that allows your pet to stand up and turn around inside. Train your pet to become comfortable with the carrier.
  • If your pet is on medication or a special diet, find out from your veterinarian what you should do in case you should have to leave it alone for several days. Try to get an extra supply of medications.
  • Make sure your pet has a properly fitted collar that includes the current license and rabies tags. If your dog normally wears a chain link "choker" collar, have a leather or nylon collar available.
  • Keep your pet's shots current and know where the records are. Most kennels require proof of current rabies and distemper vaccinations before accepting a pet.
  • Contact motels and hotels in communities outside of your area and find out if they will accept pets in an emergency.
  • When assembling emergency supplies for the household, include items for the pets.
  • When an emergency or disaster appears imminent bring your pets inside immediately. Animals have instincts about severe weather changes and will often isolate themselves if they are afraid. Bringing them inside early can stop them from running away. Never leave your pet outside or tied up during a storm.
  • If after a disaster you have to leave town, take your pet with you. Pets are unlikely to survive on their own.
  • The behavior of your pet may change after an emergency or disaster. Normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive. Watch animals closely.
  • In the first few days after a disaster, leash your pets when they go outside. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and your pet may become confused and lost.

Your Animals Need to "Carry" an "I.D."

  • Permanent identification includes: microchip, license, collar ID tag, etc.
  • Photographs of front, rear and both side views. A good idea is to include yourself with your animal(s) in these photos.
  • Include breed, registration if appropriate, sex, markings, color, and age. Keep a copy of these records in a safe place. Remember that in many disasters, some pets evacuated or rescued quickly are not reunited with their owners due to lack of ability to prove ownership through identification.


Livestock owners it is very important to prepare an emergency kit for the barn and a smaller kit for the stock trailer. The following things should be part of it:

  • Emergency supply of feed, roughage, grain supplements, medications for at least 5-7 days, (2 weeks is best).

Check with your veterinarian about the following things:

  • Dietary charts for emergency feed and water for livestock
  • What medications/prescriptions should be ordered and ready for 2 weeks or more
  • Any other supplies that may be needed.

Other supplies for livestock

  • Animal first aid book/supplies
  • Blanket, leg wraps, shampoo, and brushes (to remove toxic substances)
  • Control/restraint devices (leashes, halters, rope, etc.)
  • Gloves, bandana, face mask
  • Hammer, wire cutters, pliers, sharp knife
  • Insurance information, if any
  • Phone numbers, especially the family/farm veterinarian and the alternate vet, farrier, etc
  • Records - especially medical records - current vaccinations, medications and dosages, special feeding instructions
  • Tarps, shovel

Your Animals Need to "Carry" an "I.D."

  • Permanent identification includes: hot-or- freeze-brand, tattoo, ear tag, etc.
  • Photographs of front, rear and both side views.
  • Temporary identification methods can be used in an imminent emergency such as spray paint, grease pencil, attaching info to a collar or halter to contact you. Permanent markers also work on hooves, horns and light-colored coats.