Pets and Disaster

Just like you and your family, it's important to keep your pets safe during an emergency. They depend on you to take care of them and have a preparedness kit prepared and a plan in place so they'll be ready.

Here are some tips and directions to ensure your pets will stay safe.

To prepare before a disaster:

  • Call hotels or motels outside your immediate area and ask about their policies on accepting pets during an emergency. Red Cross shelters will not allow animals.
  • Keep a list of "pet friendly" places in your emergency kit so you"ll know where to go. If you get advance notice that you will need to evacuate, call and make a reservation at the "pet friendly" places right away. You can also ask friends or relatives outside the area if they could keep your pets in an emergency.
  • Prepare a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter your animals in an emergency. Keep the list in your preparedness kit, too. If you have more than one pet, they may be more comfortable if they are kept together, but in an emergency that might not be possible.
  • If you think a disaster might happen soon - (Like if you're in a tornado or flood warning.), keep your pets inside with you so you don't have to look for them if you have to evacuate. Make sure they are wearing collars and identification tags.
  • Take photos of your pets and put them in your preparedness kit so you will have a way to identify them if you become separated.

To keep your pets safe during a disaster:

Always bring them with you! Even if you have a safe place at home to leave them in, it's much safer to bring your pets along.

  • Birds and lizards should be moved in a secure travel cage or carrier. If the weather is cold, wrap a blanket over the carrier and warm up the car first.
  • During warm weather, carry a plant mister to mist the bird's feathers from time to time. Put a piece of fruit or some vegetables with high water content in the cage instead of water. Try to keep the carrier in a quiet place, but DO NOT let your pet out as they may fly away in the confusion.
  • Snakes should be put in a pillowcase while you are evacuating, but you will need to put them in a more secure place later.
  • If your snake requires regular feeding, carry food with you, as well as a water bowl large enough for soaking your snake and a heating pad.
  • Smaller pets, such as hamsters and gerbils, should be moved in their secure cages or carriers. Take bedding materials, food bowls and water bottles.

Remember, most shelters do not allow pets.

The best way to keep your pet safe in the aftermath of a disaster is to plan ahead and find a place for them to stay if you and your family are evacuated.

Siamese cat graphic