How To Prepare Your Pets for a Disaster


Scout says, “Emergencies can happen at any time, so it’s great to be prepared, and that includes having a plan for your pets!”

Having a game plan in the case of a disaster is important no matter where you live, but in North Carolina we have seen many different types of natural disasters. From hurricanes, flooding, power outages, to tornadoes, there’s a lot to keep in mind when making sure that you and your pets are prepared.

Here are some steps you can take to put a plan in place for your pets:

Step 1: Grab a First Responder Window Cling

You can come by our clinic any time that we’re open and ask for a free First Responder window cling.
Once you’ve gotten one you can fill out how many animals are in your residence.

This is especially important for first responders so that they can rescue your pets if a disaster occurs.

“I want to make sure that they know I’m in there so I can be taken to safety!” -Scout

Step 2: Make a Pet Emergency Kit and Essentials Kit

It’s important to pack essential items if you have to evacuate for any reason. Your essentials kit should include:

  • 3-7 days of canned or dry food (be sure to rotate your stock every 2 months)
  • Disposable litter trays
  • Litter or paper towels to coat the bottom of the disposable tray
  • Liquid dish soap and disinfectant soap
  • Disposable trash bags
  • Food and water bowls
  • Extra collar/harness and leash
  • Photocopies or a USB of medical records in a waterproof bag/container
  • 2 week supply of medication in a waterproof container (Be sure to rotate stock as medications expire)
  • 7 days (or more) of bottled water per person and pet stored in a cool, dry place
  • Sturdy carrier or crate for each pet
  • Flashlight
  • Blanket(s)
  • Recent photos of your pets in the event that you become separated and need to get help finding them
  • Bonus: Keep a NOAA Weather Radio with your kit to stay up to date on what’s happening in the event that you don’t have access to alerts and news

It’s important to ensure that all pets have tags with up to date information on them. Having your pet microchipped is even more helpful in the event of an emergency; if their tag falls off or becomes lost, veterinary staff or local animal shelters can still find your information through the microchip.

Bring your pets indoors at the first notice of a storm. They often become frightened or disoriented and end up escaping the yard and getting lost by trying to find safety.

“I’m super scared of even the smallest thunderstorm. I can’t imagine being outside during one!” -Scout


Step 3: Make an Evacuation Plan

If a natural disaster strikes you should never leave your pet behind. They can become injured or trapped if left alone without anyone to help them. It’s best to make arrangements now as a precaution. When you create your evacuation route keep these tips in mind for where your pet can stay (if not with you):

  • Ask your veterinarian if they offer boarding or if they have information on preferred boarding facilities
  • Call your local animal shelter and ask if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets
  • Locate hotels out of town that are pet friendly (LaQuinta and Best Western are known to have pet friendly locations) and keep the list in your kit
  • Consider an out of town friend or relative that can take care of your pets in the meantime

Step 4: Pick a Caregiver

The unpredictability of a natural disaster is frightening to think about, but it’s in the best interest of your pets that you prepare as much as possible.

If you were to end up in the hospital do you know who would take your pets? If not, then now is the time to start thinking about it. You want to make sure that it’s someone you know well, who takes good care of their own pets, and is capable of taking on your own if necessary.

Talk with them about having a plan set in place in the event that something happens to you.

Stay prepared and stay safe!


We’re here to help! Click here to contact us today!

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At Happy Tails Veterinary Emergency Clinic in Greensboro, NC, our kind and knowledgeable team is available to provide gold standard emergency vet care for you and your pet. We’re available in the late night and early morning hours during the week, and 24/7 on weekends for your convenience.