Animal Disaster Preparedness Day - Be Prepared!

National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day was observed on May 8th. This important day highlights the weight and responsibility pet owners have in preparing for disasters, and keeping your pet safe from harm with an emergency evacuation plan. According to Deputy Administrator Rich Serino of FEMA, having a disaster preparedness plan, being informed, and being ready are the first steps in disaster preparedness.

dog emergency personnel like these dogs are ready to help eat emergency dog food

Disasters come in many forms - from natural disasters to isolated incidents at your home. Whether for earthquake preparedness, or some other emergency situation, all family members (including indoor and outdoor pets) need to be protected, remain safe and secure, and have the basic necessities for survival on hand (including a cat emergency kit or dog emergency kit!). A pet emergency kit will ensure that you have all the supplies needed for disaster preparedness.

Use these suggestions from The Humane Society of the United States, San Diego Humane Society, SPCA and PETA to get started.

  • Have an evacuation plan in place at all times. Have the contact info and location for a couple pet friendly emergency shelters on hand in case you need to evacuate.
  • Learn about emergency animal rescue teams in your area. For example, the Humane Society has a team dedicated to assisting pets displaced by natural disasters.
  • Keep pet’s vaccinations current. Keep a copy of your pet’s medical records in your files in case you need to take them to a shelter or a boarding facility.
  • Have an adequate sized carrier for your pet with enough room to sit, stand and turn around. Label it with contact information.
  • If you are staying at home, have pet crates large enough to hold bedding, litter pan, and water bowl plus ample room for your pet to move around.
  • Have extra collars, leashes, and a harness for each pet. Collars should have your pet’s name, your name, contact phone number, and alternate number.
  • Take pictures of yourself with your pet to prove ownership.
  • Put together a pet first aid kit. This should include pet-friendly clippers, bandages, ointments and pet care book. If your pet is on medication, have at least a two-week supply available. Take a pet first aid class so you’ll know what to do in case of an emergency.
  • Add to your disaster preparedness kit with a minimum of 3 to 5 days worth of water and emergency dog food or cat food, ample cat litter and a litter pan, food and water bowl, scooper, plastic bags, and sanitary hand wipes.

dog thinking about disaster disaster preparedness

Having a pet door is also a helpful measure. A door provides not only convenience and easy access for your pet; it also provides security for reentering the home in case wildlife or unfriendly animals are prowling the property. In a disaster, such as fast approaching inclement weather, your pet can enter your home if you're away.

Some incidents like celebrations during the holiday season can also cause your pet to be afraid. In any case, you'll want to do your best to prepare your beloved furry friends and keep your pets safe.

Plan today for unforeseen disasters that can happen anytime and rest easy knowing your pets are also prepared.

Nick Pullano

Written by

Nick Pullano


Pets: I have a half border collie, half angel named Mikey.
Fun stuff: My dog's tongue is slightly longer than her face, so frequently her tongue sticks out a little even when her mouth is closed.

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