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Emergency Preparedness for Pets


Plan Ahead. In the event of an evacuation, pets may not be allowed inside human emergency shelters. Determine the best place to leave your pet in case of a disaster. Identify an off-site location as well as a place in your home.

Identification and Photographs. Dogs and cats should always wear properly fitting collars, personal identification, rabies, and license tags. Make sure all the information on the tags is current. Keep a current photo of each pet. Make sure any distinguishing markings are visible. You will need proof of ownership to retrieve your pet from a shelter.

Emergency Kit. Maintain an Emergency Preparedness Kit for each of your pets.

Paperwork and Records. Store important animal documents in a zip-lock or waterproof plastic bag. These should include vaccination and medical records.

Vaccinations. Your pets need to be current on vaccinations. You will be required to show proof of vaccination if you need to board your pet.

Transportation. Each animal should have their own pet carrier. Familiarize your pet with the carrier or cage before an emergency.

Leashes and Collars. Keep a leash handy for each dog and cat in your home. Consider using a harness.

Buddy system. In case you are not home when disaster strikes, ask a trusted neighbor to check on your animals. Exchange veterinary information and file a permission slip with your veterinarian authorizing them to get emergency treatment for your pet if you can’t be located.


If possible, take your pet with you when you evacuate If you take your pet:

  • Evacuate your pet early, if possible.
  • Take your emergency preparedness kit, including the pet’s vaccination and medical records, as well as identification photographs with you.

If you can’t take your pet with you:

  • Bring your pet indoors. Do not leave pets chained outdoors.
  • Prepare a preselected site indoors for your pet. Use a room with no windows but adequate ventilation, such as a utility room, garage, bathroom, or other area that can be easily cleaned. Do not tie them up.
  • Leave only dry foods and fresh water in non-spill containers. If possible, open a faucet to let water drip into
  • a large container or partially fill a bathtub with water.
  • Do not leave vitamin treats, which could be fatal if over-eaten.
  • House cats and dogs separately, even if they normally get along.


  • Pet behavior may change after an emergency. Monitor your pets closely and keep them leashed. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered, causing confusion and abnormal behavior.
  • Be aware of downed power lines, fallen trees, debris, and local wildlife.
  • If you find a pet, call animal control or any emergency phone numbers set up after the disaster. Isolate it from your animals until it is returned to its owner, or can be examined by a veterinarian.

If you’ve lost your pet:

  • Visit each shelter in your area at least once every other day. You must check the shelter in person; you are the only person who can truly identify your animal. Keep a current photo of your pet showing or describing any distinctive markings.
  • Create a flyer with your pet’s photo and description, pet’s name, your name and phone numbers where you can be reached.
  • When you do find your pet, immediately examine it for illness or injuries. Obtain medical attention from your veterinarian if needed. Use caution when handling animals. Panicky or injured animals may bite.
  • Do not leave vitamin treats, which could be fatal if over-eaten. House cats and dogs separately, even if they normally get along.

Emergency Preparedness Kit

  • Pet carrier or cage for each pet
  • Two weeks supply of food and water
  • Non-spill food and water bowls
  • Medications and dosing instructions
  • Pet first-aid kit
  • Vaccination and medical reccords
  • Your veteranarian’s information
  • Cat litter box & litter
  • Newspaper
  • Plastic bags for waste disposal
  • Paper towels
  • Disenfectants
  • Leash and collar/harness
  • Blankets
  • Toys and treats

Be sure to provide your pets with as many amenities as possible. Remember, they are counting on you for their survival and support!

Emergency Preparedness for Horse Owners


Plan Ahead. Determine the best place for animal confinement in case of a disaster. Find alternate water sources in case power is lost and pumps are not working or have a hand pump installed. You should have a minimum of three days feed and water on hand.

Evacuation. Decide where to take your horses if evacuation is necessary. Contact fairgrounds, equestrian centers, and private farms/stables about their policies and ability to take horses temporarily in an emergency. Have several sites in mind. Familiarize yourself with several evacuation routes to your destination.

Identification. This is critical! Photograph, identify, and inventory your horses. Permanent identification such as tattoos, brands, etched hooves or microchips are best. Temporary identification, such as tags on halters, neck bands, and duct tape with permanent writing will also work. Include your name and phone number. Keep identification information with you to verify ownership. (Breed registration papers may already have this information.)

Medical Records and Vaccinations. Your horses need to have current vaccinations. Keep medical histories and record special dosing instructions, allergies, and dietary requirements. Write down contact information for your veterinarian.

Vehicles. Keep trailers and vans well-maintained, full of gas, and ready to move at all times. Be sure your animals will load. If you don’t have your own vehicles, make arrangements with local companies or neighbors before disaster strikes.

Fire Preparation. In high risk areas, clear fire breaks around your house, barns, and property lines. Keep fire fighting tools in one location.

Flood Preparation. Keep a leash handy for each dog and cat in your home. Consider using a harness.


Listen to the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) on the TV or radio.

Evacuate your horses early, if possible, to ensure their safety and ease your stress.

Take all vaccination and medical records, the Emergency disaster kit, and enough hay and water for three days.

Call your destination to make sure the site is still available.

Use roads not in use for human evacuation when you transport your horses to the sheltering site.

If you must leave your animals, leave them in the preselected area appropriate for disaster type. Leave enough hay for 48 to 72 hours. Do not rely on automatic watering systems. Power may be lost.

The leading causes of death in large animals during disaster are: o                      Collapsed barns

  • Kidney failure due to dehydration
  • Electrocution from downed power lines
  • Fencing failures


Check fences to be sure they are intact. Check pastures and fences for sharp objects that could injure horses. Be aware of downed power lines, fallen trees, and debris.

Beware of local wildlife that may have entered the area and could pose a danger.

Familiar scents and landmarks may have changed, and animals can easily become confused and lost.

If you find someone else’s animal, isolate it from your animals until it is returned to its owner or can be examined by a veterinarian.

Always use caution when approaching and handling strange or frightened horses. Work in pairs.

If you’ve lost an animal, contact veterinarians, humane societies, stables, surrounding farms, and other facilities. Listen to the EBS for groups that may be accepting lost animals.

Check with your veterinarian and the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Animal Health Branch for information about possible disease outbreaks. In large animals during disaster are:

Emergency Preparedness Kit

  • Portable radio and extra batteries
  • Plastic trash barrel with a lid
  • Water buckets
  • Stored feed
  • Non-nylon leads, halters and shanks
  • Leg wraps
  • Horse blaket or sheet
  • First aid items
  • Tarps
  • Portable generators
  • Flashlights
  • Shovel
  • Lime or bleach
  • Fly spray
  • Wire cutters
  • Sharp knife
  • Hoof pick

Be sure to provide your pets with as many amenities as possible. Remember, they are counting on you for their survival and support!