Imagine a situation where a police officer knocks on your door and tells you to evacuate, due to an accident involving dangerous chemicals. You have cats, dogs and birds.

  • Can you gather and crate your pets quickly?
  • Can you put all of them in your car safely?
  • Do your pets have ID collars, tags or microchips?
  • Do you have photographs of each pet?
  • Do you have a pet emergency GO KIT for each pet?
  • Do you have a place to go that will accept pets?
  • Do you have a contingency plan for your pets in case you’re not home?
  • Is your house marked to indicate there are pets inside?

Take a moment and make sure your pets have an emergency kit and evacuation plan – just like you and your other family members do.

Remember that pets may not behave normally during an emergency. Just like people, animals can get “stressed” during an emergency. Everyone should practice safe handling of pets.

Plan and Prepare

When a disaster or emergency strikes a neighborhood or community, essential services are often unavailable. Power, water and other utilities may be cut off for a few hours or days. It’s important to have an evacuation plan that includes your pets. They’re an important part of your family. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND!

Pet preparedness planning guide (English)
Pet preparedness planning guide (Spanish)

Here are some pet basics to remember:

  • Always keep your pet vaccinations up-to-date.
  • Keep a copy of the records.
  • ID tags should be securely fastened to a pet’s collar.
  • Microchip pets with current information
  • Have appropriate sized carriers for each pet.
  • Pre-plan locations to stay with your pets or board without you.

Build a Pet Emergency Kit

Each of your pets needs an emergency “GO” kit that contains important supplies for several days.

Include a waterproof envelope with:

Download the Center for Food Security and Public Health Pet Emergency Plan

Download the Centers for Disease Control Pet Disaster Emergency Checklist

More on pet preparedness from the American Veterinary Medical Association

Rescue Alert Stickers

If you have pets, you should get a rescue alert sticker. These plastic film “stick-ons” are placed in a window facing the street of your home.

The sticker can include this information:

  • Types and number of pets inside
  • Your contact number
  • Veterinarian name and phone number
  • Other important notes

If you leave your home with your pets, write EVACAUATED across the front of the sticker.


There may be times when the emergency does allow one to stay home. Some situations may require you to “shelter- in-place” in your home until danger has passed, example- toxic fumes from a chemical plant fire. In this latter example more planning is needed: Choose a pet-friendly room, preferably with few or no windows; follow instructions given by authorities. Remove any toxic plants. Close off small areas where frightened cats or small dogs could get stuck (such as vents, under heavy furniture).

Some pet preparedness content courtesy ASPCA, CDC, FEMA and the HSUS.

If you’re traveling with pets, these sites may help you find pet-friendly lodging:




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