Disaster Plan

Emergency Planning for your Pet

Before a Disaster


  1. Make a plan for your pet.

Do NOT leave your pet behind!! Pets are unlikely to survive on their own.

You may need to evacuate to a public shelter and your pet may not be allowed.

Check with friends and loved ones who may host your pet in an emergency.


  1. Contact your community official for guidance on sheltering wit your pet.

Emergency management, local shelter, town hall or animal control can assist you with community specific information. There may be a Community group such as CERT or DART that can help you find a suitable location for your pet in an emergency. Self-identify to your community if you need assistance leaving your home in the event of an emergency.

Guidance from Red Cross:

  • “Local and state health and safety regulations do not permit the Red Cross to allow pets in disaster shelters. (Service animals are allowed in Red Cross shelters.)
  • Contact hotels and motels outside your local area to check their policies on accepting pets and restrictions on number, size and species. Ask if “no pet” policies can be waived in an emergency. Keep a list of “pet friendly” places, including phone numbers, with your disaster supplies.
  • Ask friends, relatives or others outside the affected area whether they could shelter your animals.
  • Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter animals in an emergency; include 24-hour phone numbers.
  • Ask local animal shelters if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets during a disaster.”


  1. Prepare a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter animals in an emergency.   Be sure to include 24-hour phone numbers


  1. Have an emergency “go-kit” for your pet. Items to include in a bag that will be ready to go In the event of an emergency can include: pet food, bottled water, medications, veterinary records, cat litter/pan, manual can opener, food dishes, first aid kit, toys, pet beds,


  1. Know the locations of pet-friendly hotels, motels, and campgrounds both inside and outside your local area. Ask if “no pet” policies can be waived in an emergency.


  1. Have a current photo of your pet ready


  1. Make sure that you have carrier, leash, or harness ready to go for an emergency.


  1. Make sure pets have ID tags that are up to date.


  1. The ASPCA recommends using a rescue sticker alert to let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers, and that it includes the types and number of pets in your household and your veterinarian’s phone number.




During an Disaster:


  1. If you evacuate take pets with you and do so early. Pets are not safe if you are not safe.


  1. If you are not evacuating, keep your pet indoors. Keep ID tags on your pet.



  1. Remove any potential hazards in the home – close off areas where pets my hide and remove chemicals or sharp items.



  1. If you must evacuate with your pets (and if time allows) write “EVACUATED” across the stickers so rescue workers don’t waste time looking for them.



Post Disaster:

 Guidance from Ready.gov:



  1. “In the first few days after the disaster, leash your pets when they go outside. Always maintain close contact. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and your pet may become confused and lost. Also, snakes and other dangerous animals may be brought into the area with flood areas. Downed power lines are a hazard.



  1. The behavior of your pets may change after an emergency. Normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive. Watch animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard with access to shelter and water.”



References and helpful links:






Additional Links:

CDC Guide to Extreme Heat

Disaster Prep & Self Storage – What You Need to Know

PA DMV Emergency Driving Tips

Emergency Preparedness for Seniors & the Disabled

Humane Society – Protect Your Pets

Disaster Safety for Renters

Ready for Anything: First Aid for Pets