To keep your family safe in a potential disaster, it's essential to have an evacuation plan—and that plan should include your pet. Since most public shelters exclude pets, keep your beloved animal safe and unharmed with this advice.
Find a safe place for your pet ahead of time
After many disasters, thousands of household animals are left to fend for themselves and are lost, injured or killed. As many emergency shelters (for example, Red Cross shelters) do not allow pets, plan ahead for your household animals and:
Make advance arrangements if there's a possibility you won't be home when disaster strikes. Ask a willing friend or neighbor pick up your pet and meet you at a specified location. Note that these types of precautions will increase your animal's chances of survival, but they are not a substitute for evacuating with your pet.
Make a disaster kit for your pets
Just as you have important papers and key items handy and at the ready for your family's evacuation, so you should prepare a similar kit for your pets. It should contain the following:
Your pet's disaster kit should also include the specific practical items needed. Depending on your type of pet, you might need:
Birds and house lizards should be transported in a secure travel cage or carrier. In cold weather, wrap a blanket over the carrier and warm up the car before placing birds inside. During warm weather, carry a plant mister to mist the birds’ feathers periodically. Do not let the birds or lizards out of the cage or carrier.
Pocket pets such as small mammals (hamsters, gerbils, etc.) should be transported in secure carriers suitable for maintaining the animals while sheltered. Take bedding materials, food bowls, and water bottles.
If you evacuate, take your pets
Caring for your pet after the disaster
For more preparedness tips, handy checklists (including ones you can personalize yourself) and evacuation planning advice to cover a variety of disasters, get the I.I.I.’s Know Your Plan app. It's a great tool to help get you and your family—including pets—organized and ready to act more quickly if an emergency strikes.
For more information about pets and disaster planning:
ASPCA American Kennel Club American Veterinary Medical Association The American Red Cross Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Humane Society of the United States
Next steps link: If you haven't already, create an evacuation plan for the whole family.