What should I do to prepare my pet for a disaster?

  • Keep your pet’s license current.

  • Make sure that collar and identification tags are worn at all times.

  • Consider having a safe, permanent microchip implanted in your pet. This type of ID cannot fall off or be removed. Most veterinarians offer micochipping services to their customers.

  • Train your pet to enter his/her carrier or crate at your command. Try putting your pet’s favorite treat in his/her carrier and sounding a bell at the same time. Repeat this process every day until your pet comes running at the sound of the bell. Continue this routine often enough to keep it fresh in your pet’s mind. This training will be extremely helpful when locating a frightened animal.

  • Train your pet to be comfortable with being handled.

  • Have your neighbors get to know your pets. Keep an updated list of their home and work phone numbers (remember to update these frequently).

  • Select a Pet Guardian who will be ready to assist should a disaster occur when you are not at home. Make sure this person spends much of their time at home, or that they work within walking distance of your neighborhood.

  • Select one or two backup Pet Guardians in case the primary person is not available.


What else should I know about and do for my pet?

  • Secure all bird cages and aquariums.  These items may move and/or break during a disaster.  Secure them on low stands or tables. Tighten the latch on your birdcage so that the door cannot be shaken open easily.

  • The Red Cross shelters do not accept pets. Prepare a list of backup arrangements such as homes of friends and family, hotels that allow pets, boarding facilities, veterinarians and/or shelters.

  • It is generally not recommended that you leave your pet behind during an evacuation. If you must, follow these guidelines to help ensure your pet’s safety.

    • Post a highly visible sign in a window to let rescue workers know how many pets were left behind.
    • Leave plenty of water in a large open container that cannot be tipped over.
    • Leave plenty of food in timed feeders (check local pet supply stores). These will prevent your pet from overeating.
  • Do not tie or cage your pet! The chances for survival are greater if he/she can escape easily.



What to have in a pet first aid kit?

  • large and small bandages
  • scissors
  • tweezers
  • cotton swabs
  • antibiotic ointment
  • hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting or clean deep wounds
  • elastic tape
  • eye wash (saline)
  • ear-cleaning solutions
  • K-Y Jelly (water soluble)
  • any special medications prescribed by your veterinarian

What to have in my pet care disaster kit?

A prepared disaster kit, kept in a safe and easily accessible place, will enable you to provide immediate care to your pet in an emergency. A calm, well trained pet, who is either on a leash, or in a carrier, will be more welcome wherever you go.

  • Sturdy crate and /or pet carrier
  • Identification tag and collar
  • Leash
  • Food and water – 7-day supply for each pet
  • Non-spill bowls
  • Litter box and litter
  • Any special medications
  • Manual can opener and plastic lid
  • Pet’s vaccination history
  • Recent photos of each pet
  • Pet First-Aid book
  • Pet First-Aid Kit
  • Phone number of a local emergency veterinary hospital
  • Phone number of your local animal shelter
  • Long-term confinement equipment: chains, cable-runs, tie out stakes, portable caging
  • Large plastic bags for pet cleanup
  • Emergency phone number


  • The Red Cross has pet safety and disaster information online here.
  • You can call our shelter after hours and hear a list of important numbers including local police and the local dog warden at (814) 677-4040.