Need to evacuate? Have a plan for your pets.

Abby Raymond-Dow
Published on October 15, 2018

Need to evacuate? Have a plan for your pets.

It’s hurricane season and even the most prepared among us may have let something fall through the cracks. Maybe because we think of them as family and assume that they can go with us wherever we go, we don’t make special plans for our furry friends.  Although some shelters are pet-friendly, many aren’t. The time to put a plan in place is before you are distraught with all the details of prepping home and getting supplies. Know the places where you can take your pets with you, or, if that is not possible, know where you can take them that they will be safe.  Likewise, getting your pet micro-chipped is of utmost importance. Even the most relaxed of our fur-babies pick up on the stress of preparing for an evacuation. They are also likely to sense a disturbance in the environment. A dog or cat that would never otherwise leave home may bolt in these situations, so being aware is important. Having them micro-chipped could help them return safely to you should they escape during storm preparation.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is urging pet owners to include their pets in the natural disaster preparations and we’re sharing some of their tips with you today.

Come up with a plan

If your pet isn’t microchipped, this should be your first step. In lieu of a chip, ensure that your dog has identification tags securely attached to its collar. If your dog is chipped, it’s still a good idea to collar it (with an i.d. tag attached). Taking a found pet to a veterinarian to be scanned for a chip is impossible in many disaster situations.

If your dog is chipped, is your contact information up-to-date?

Then, make a plan for where you will stay if you have to evacuate. Not all emergency shelters allow pets so call your city leaders to find out if the one in your area is pet-friendly. Or, download the FEMA app, which provides a list of open shelters in your area.

If not, consider other places you might go during an evacuation. Some hotels allow pets, so call the ones in towns where you may end up to find out.

HSUS offers the following list of online sites that can help you locate pet-friendly hotels:

For help identifying pet-friendly lodgings, check out these websites:

If all else fails, start contacting boarding facilities and veterinarians to find one that will take your pet in during an emergency.

Create a pet disaster kit

An emergency medical kit for your dog or cat is essential. You can purchase pre-packed kits or make your own. Use the list provided here.

Then, set aside the following supplies in an area that provides you easy access during an emergency:

  • A 7-day supply of food and water for each pet.
  • Food and water bowls
  • Can opener
  • Cat accessories (litter box and litter, scoop, etc.)
  • Leash or harness
  • Pet carrier
  • Photos of each of your pets
  • Medications your pet needs

Prepare the entire family for a possible evacuation, including your pets, by following the advice from the pros at

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