When a hurricane strikes, be ready

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Pet Emergency Preparedness

A hurricane looms and now you and your family are forced to evacuate, but what about your pet?

DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND in the event of an evacuation. If you must leave your pet behind, do not tether, crate or restrain them. If you have boarded your house, be sure to leave an accessible exit, such as a screen door, in case your pet needs to leave the house for higher ground. During severe hurricanes, water may rise and cause flooding. If flooding occurs and you cannot take your pet, leave them in an upstairs room with food and water. Unplug all appliances and leave an open exit, such as a window, in case they need to escape rising water.

Pets left in areas affected by natural disasters may not survive on their own and are difficult to locate and reunite with their families after a disaster. Below are emergency preparedness steps and supplies you’ll need to keep your beloved pet safe.

Pet Emergency Supplies

A pet emergency preparedness kit should have the supplies below to help keep your pet fed and secure during evacuations due to hurricanes:


  • pet tag with your cell phone number
  • vaccination/medical records
  • veterinary contact information
  • a current photo of your pet


  • carrier
  • crate
  • blanket
  • collar (with up to date tag information)
  • non-retractable leash
  • sturdy harness


  • 1 week supply of food (in waterproof container)
  • bottled water
  • portable food & water bowls
  • manual can opener (if using canned food)
  • list of feeding routine & behavioral needs/considerations


  • puppy pads
  • any medication
  • pet first aid kit
  • flea & tick preventative
  • pet waste bags
  • cat litter, litter box & scoop
  • calming spray
  • calming apparel

During a hurricane

Always follow the advice of your local emergency management agency. However if you stay indoors during a hurricane, remain calm and reassure your pet in a soothing voice. Be sure to take these safety precautions:

  1. Bring pets inside immediately and keep them indoors until the threat has passed.
  2. If possible bring pets upstairs and keep them in a secure pet carrier.
  3. Have newspapers, litter boxes and trash bags on hand for sanitary purposes.
  4. Feed animals moist or canned food, this way they’ll need less water.
  5. Separate dogs and cats, even if they usually get along. Emergency situations can cause pets to behave unpredictably. Also keep small pets away cats and dogs.
  6. NEVER leave a pet outside or tied up during a storm. 

Pet Emergency Preparedness Resources

Emergency Preparedness for Birds, Reptiles, Small Animals & Horses

Pet Emergency Preparedness, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency

The American Red Cross



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