How to prepare pets for emergencies

Healthy Partner Pet Snacks shares how to prepare your pet for an emergency evacuation.

Is your dog prepared to face an emergency evacuation? With fires raging in the northwest and hurricanes hitting Hawaii and other seaside communities, many families and their pets have been forced to evacuate. It’s heartbreaking to think of any pet left behind in the chaos.

Rescue teams from national nonprofits like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) help with recovery efforts in the aftermath of emergencies. They remind animal lovers that emergencies come in many forms. Some lead to a brief absence from the home and others to permanent evacuation.  

The ASPCA offers disaster preparedness information for pets. Prepare today for tomorrow’s emergencies - don’t wait until it is too late.

Step 1: Download the FEMA brochure for pets

To help with disaster preparedness, FEMA offers a free, downloadable brochure . The brochure includes information on evacuating with a pet, building an emergency supply kit, creating a getaway plan and sources for staying informed.

Step 2: Order a free Rescue Alert Sticker

One easy way to start, besides downloading the brochure, is by ordering a free emergency pet alert sticker for your home. By placing the sticker in your window, rescuers will know that a pet is inside. The Rescue Alert Stickers are also distributed with an Animal Poison Control magnet. ASPCA warns that the sticker may take 6-8 weeks to ship, but your local pet supply store may sell similar stickers.

Step 3: Arrange for Shelter

If you are in a situation which requires evacuation, know that your pet will need to be evacuated too. Not all shelters accept pets. Ask a vet for a list of boarding kennels or ask a local animal shelter for information on emergency shelters and foster families. 

Another option is to ask friends and relatives who live outside your area if they would be willing to host your pet in an emergency.

Healthy Partner Pet Snacks shares how to prepare your pet for an emergency evacuation.

Step 4: Prepare Emergency Kits

Pack an emergency kit and store it near an exit. Then tell the rest of your family about it, so they know where it is located as well. It should be clearly labeled and easy to carry. Here are a few items ASPCA recommends including in your pet emergency kit:

  • Pet first-aid kit
  • 3-7 days’ worth of dog food and water
  • Liquid dish soap, paper towels, disposable garbage bags
  • Pet feeding dishes and water bowls
  • Extra collar and leash
  • Photocopies of medical records and recent photos of your pet
  • Dog crate or carrier with blanket, toys and cage liners 

For more information, visit ASPCA online.


Article written by Melissa Wheeler, a writer and pet enthusiast. Melissa has a 10-year-old Whippet, named Leo, who loves to run, sneak food and cuddle with his family.