How to Prepare Your Pet for a Natural Disaster

Kimberly Bean
Published on October 15, 2018

How to Prepare Your Pet for a Natural Disaster

It’s hurricane season and even the most prepared among us may have let something fall through the cracks. Often, pets’ needs get overlooked when homeowners are preparing their homes and families for a storm. We’ve all seen the videos of dogs and cats left behind, the flood waters quickly rising around them.

Are your pets prepared for the next time a natural disaster strikes Southern Maryland?

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) urges 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. (Your veterinarian can chip your pet for you.) In lieu of a chip, ensure that your dog or cat has identification tags securely attached to its collar. If your pet 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.

You should also make sure that your contact information on the chip and tag is up-to-date. Chips and tags are only effective if someone can reach you in an emergency.

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:

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 these pet supplies in an area you can get to easily during an emergency:

  • A seven-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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