While some households have an emergency disaster kit in their home, most of them don’t have a plan in place for their pets. Some simple steps will show you how to keep your pet safe during a natural disaster.

Know your region’s “native” disasters.

Is your region prone to hurricanes, blizzards, tornadoes or wildfires? Most regions have “native” natural disasters that occur more frequently than others. Hurricanes are more common to the Gulf Coast, for example. Blizzards not so much.

In each case, simply identifying the natural disasters common to your region can serve as a good starting point for pet disaster preparedness. For pet owners living in a hurricane-prone region, it’s smart to look into your property’s elevation level and flood history, as well as local evacuation routes. This research will help you build an effective plan for yourself and your pet.

Plan to evacuate with your pet.

When natural disasters require an evacuation, every minute matters. That’s why it’s important to consider your pet when creating an evacuation plan. Set aside time to find safe places you might take him in an emergency situation:

Your Veterinarian’s Office

Animal Shelters

Pet-friendly Hotels/Motels

Boarding Facilities

A Relative’s House

In some cases, evacuating pets simply isn’t possible, but your veterinarian can help you prepare so your pet stays as safe as possible in your absence. For example, waterproof “Pets Inside” stickers should be available at your vet’s office. Place them on your home’s front and back doors to alert rescuers that there are pets inside your home.

Prepare a pet emergency kit.

Preparing a cat or dog emergency kit, it should include:

Bottled Water

Cans of Wet Food (1–2 weeks’ worth)


Collapsible Bowls

Cat Litter & Pan

Leash & Collar

Life Jacket & Paw Protectors


Basic Pet First-Aid Kit

Vaccine Records/Medical History

Veterinary Contact Information

Medications List

Emergency Contacts

Photos of Your Pet (in case you are separated from your pet)

Create a buddy system.

A disaster may strike your area while you’re away. Prepare for this scenario by choosing a trusted neighbor, family member or friend who’s willing to check in on your pet. You can do the same for their pet. You should also add this caregiver to your emergency contact list as someone who’s authorized to approve necessary emergency treatments if you can’t be reached.

Identify places where your pet can stay temporarily should a disaster hit while you’re out of town. And don’t forget to let your pet-sitter and “buddy” know where your cat or dog emergency kit is in case of an emergency.